Springfield Area Regional Council Recap – July 2018
The Springfield Area Building Bright Futures council spent time at the June council meeting discussing what we had accomplished during the year and what we hope to continue to work on in the future. The council noted that it had supported 9 family events in multiple towns ranging from a Cookie Swap and singalongs, to Just Us Moms gatherings, family movie events, and kick off to summer events. We made sure that these events weren’t only fun for children and families but also had some child development information and opportunities for parent education. This is something that the council felt was important to continue in the upcoming year. The Springfield Area council also has played a role in the ACEs in Action Collaborative group working on ways to spread the knowledge about adverse childhood experiences, how it impacts our communities and what we can do about it. The group is working to help plan an event in August to continue to spread the information in conjunction with the Springfield Promise Community efforts.
In the future, the council determined that it would like to learn more about the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program as the number of participants in this program have been decreasing in this region. We would like to explore ways to support those who may need this additional support in enrolling in WIC. The council will also be exploring ways to support the developmental screening registry use in our region as we see it as a potentially valuable way of breaking down barriers.
The council also noted in its June meeting that two of the biggest challenges facing the region were workforce recruitment and retention and the increase of children in DCF custody. The council thinks it is important to look at ways we can recruit and train more foster parents as well as support childcares who have seen an increase in children in their care with DCF involvement. The council would also like the state to look at way to incentivize working in this field, some suggestions included loan forgiveness and increasing wages.
During May and June, the council held two more family movie events in a summer series which included developmentally appropriate and educational crafts, and healthy food. There was also a component of education on the importance of music in children’s lives and the importance of being yourself and self-expression for care givers while they children learned about sound and emotions. The council plans to continue to look for ways to engage with caregivers and children.