Bennington continued to build on the Council’s request to know more about the breadth and depth of services provided by our community partners. Most of the council members are aware of some of our partner’s services, but not all of them. Starting at the December 2018 Council meeting, we began to explore the services of our Parent Child Center partner; Sunrise Family Resource Center. PCC’s have myriad services that are incorporated within the 8 core services. Sunrise has always been a strong partner in the work of the region and the Bennington regional plan. Sunrise was a great place for the council to start an exploration of local supports for children and families since 2019 is their 50th year.
In FY17, the Bennington Direct Services Funds moved to Sunrise from the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. At that time, Sunrise made a commitment to the Bennington Council to give input for the community grants. This year the grant proposals have to address one of the PCC’s 8 core functions and a strategy in the Bennington Regional Plan. All of the proposals were presented electronically to the Bennington Council in January. This created a venue for other council members to ask questions and give input. This year there are five proposals that have been forwarded to Sunrise for final approval.
Also in December, we began to discuss the importance of data; what we should be collecting locally and how it ties in to the data we have at the state level and from other sources. The intention was to build on this discussion and pull it together with the discussion of the How Are Vermont’s Young Children and Families report. Very often, we have great anecdotal data and numbers but we do not have data that shows us the trajectory of change in this region.
In January, we were able to have the second part of the Early Multi-Tiered System of Support Pyramid Training. The pyramid is the basis of EMTSS and CSEFEL (Center for Social Emotional Foundation of Early Learning) from Vanderbilt University. The mentoring component will be very important to develop systematically as we go forward.
Bennington has continued to have a Maternal Child Health Coalition after the retirement of Debby Dutcher, the MCH nurse at the Health Department. This month we will be looking at combining the MCH meeting with the Women’s Health Initiative. Many of the same people are attending both meetings. It will be interesting to see how these groups merge going forward.