Stronger Together

September 8, 2016

2016 Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) All Grantee Meeting

For four days in Washington, D.C. during a humid week in June, grantees from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 territories, and 24 tribal communities convened to celebrate their successes, learn from one another and gain critical information on how to be a partner with families in improving the lives of children. The event focused on celebrating the shared experiences, inspiration, and gained knowledge of each home visiting program across the nation. The meeting objectives were to provide:

  1.    grantees with technical assistance, expertise, and best-practice information on implementing high-quality, evidence-based, home-visiting programs; and

  2.    the opportunity for grantees to learn from one another through peer-sharing opportunities.

Overall, the event was truly focused on the theme of “Stronger Together,” which emphasized that we—as a community, city, state, nation, and human race—are all critical to the welfare of families and children. Highlights from the four-day meeting included a lively state poster gallery; dynamic key speakers, who gave talks on marketing using effective data, as well as delivering from the heart and who educated their audiences about infant and parent neurobiological changes. Additionally, there were celebrations of cultures, with a drum circle performance from the Zotigh Singers Drum Group of Albuquerque, New Mexico and a traditional Taualuga dance performed by the American Samoa Home Visiting Team.

For the MIECHV grantees, the time together in the nation’s capital was more than just enjoying the sites and monuments of our nations’ history and key influential figures. Coming together was an opportunity to reflect on the impact that home-visiting programs have on the future of our families and communities. It increased our recognition and commitment to develop these services to be of the highest quality. With this renewed commitment to excellence, the MIECHV grantees have embraced this responsibility of quality delivery and are dedicated to ensure that services are easily available to families in their respective state.

For New Mexico, this is nothing new. We have been actively engaged in this dual assurance, providing highest quality and easily accessible services across the early childhood system to families. For the Office of Child Development (OCD) and Early Childhood Services (ECS) Division of Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), the assignment of ensuring quality and accessibility exists is—and will remain—a top priority. The Home Visiting Team in the Office of Child Development has been proactive in determining means to improve our five long-term outcomes that:

  1.    babies are born healthy;

  2.    children are nurtured by their parents and caregivers;

  3.    children are physically and mentally healthy and ready for school;

  4.    children and families are safe; and

  5.    families are connected to formal and informal supports in their community.

The team strives to be innovative in coordinating our federally and state-funded MIECHV programs in terms of policies, procedures, standards alignment, and the quality/model curricula offered to the families served. The Office of Child Development believes in the importance of relationship-based practices and in the mindful delivery of services.

MIECHV holds all grantees to the highest standards to ensure that families receive the best service possible. New Mexico adheres to that quality. And the CYFD utilizes the concepts of relationship-building and community needs identification to guide their expansion of home-visiting services across the Land of Enchantment through:

    1.    receiving the information from the conference;

    2.    attending multiple webinars on data-collection, quality improvements;

    3.    reviewing current assessments to ensure that they are the most current and beneficial to families;

    4.    connecting with the MIECHV provided technical expertise to assist with data collection and   evaluation of programs; and

    5.    continuing to meet with program staff face-to-face in an effort to support them during this expansion.

Providing services to families in New Mexico is a team effort. We are “Stronger Together.” Not a single person, agency, or community alone can provide the resources needed for a healthy family and community. We are all heroes when we come together to support a cause larger than the individual. Superman said it best. “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”