Colorado Office of Early Childhood

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The Division of Community and Family Support, located within Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood, focuses on building resilience in children, creating safe and nurturing environments for families, and ensuring school readiness. The program uses a two-generation approach, combining caregiver and child interventions. Mary, Director of the Division of Community and Family Support, works in early intervention, child maltreatment prevention, home visiting programs, and early childhood mental health. At the Institute, Mary set a goal of determining the viability of offering contractors professional development on healthy relationship education and gauging if there was enough interest.

The first step of her integration efforts involved helping others (leadership and staff) in the office become aware of healthy marriage and relationship education resources, encouraging them to use the Resource Center’s materials when the need arose. Mary was able to connect with a colleague who shared the information with Providing Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program sites. PSSF is a federally funded program that provides family support and preservation, and services to reunite families immediately following a child’s removal from a home. One program site was able to reach Level 3 integration.

Speak with unit directors about interest and viability of offering professional development to contractors that would lead to level 3 integration.

Out of her conversations in making others aware of relationship education in her agency, Mary inspired her colleague, Jill, to look more closely at possibilities for integration. Jill oversees the Providing Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program sites.

Use Resource Center resources to help staff become aware of healthy marriage education.

1) There is a tendency to assume that relationship education is “common-sense” but often times, this is not the case.

2) Sometimes the first step to integrating healthy relationship education into your organization is exposing them to what’s out there. Set up a meeting with colleagues to check out the Resource Center’s website or print out a few resources (they’re all online!) and pass them out.

One PSSF program site decided to take the information a few steps further and reached level 3 integration. This PSSF site first started by participating in the First Steps to Integrating Marriage and Relationship Education webinar offered by the Resource Center. The program staff started including materials and tips into their family intake packets and on their Resource table. They were also able to develop relationships with community agencies such as Health Solutions, Teresa’s Place, and the Department of Human Services to promote the importance of promoting healthy relationship education in the work they do with families. Lastly, this program site started integrating and promoting healthy marriage and relationship education in their existing programs (e.g. Fatherhood classes, parenting classes, family strengthening programs and support groups).

First Steps to Integrating Marriage and Relationship Education webinar (https://www.healthymarriageandfamilies.org/resources/media-gallery/webin...), Resource Center Website

Providing Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) Program