Cultivate parenting skills, promote economic stability, and enhance access to services.
The value of nurturing environments for young children to prevent many mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders has been well documented in the literature. Schools and the community are important nurturing environments, but a child’s family is its first and most influential nurturing environment. The early childhood system works to provide access to quality services and supports for families to increase parental knowledge, improve parenting practices, and prevent harm. This kind of support can take many forms. First 5 Orange County will measure progress on our goal for family resilience in the domains of maternal mental health, family support services, and family homelessness.
Resilient Families 1: Increase the rate of mothers receiving mental health services when needed.
To be measured by: Percentage of mothers indicating they went to see a doctor or mental health professional for emotional or mental health counseling or treatment when they felt they needed help according to the California Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA).
Value of measure: Maternal depression has demonstrated negative impacts on the mother, child, and family overall. Addressing common barriers to care – including not getting screened, insufficient availability of providers, cost or lack of insurance coverage, and stigma around mental health – is a critical need for parents of young children. In selecting this metric, the intent is not to exclude paternal mental health; rather, the intent is to align the measure to available data and existing practices, which are typically focused on maternal depression due to the strong link to child outcomes.
Resilient Families 2: Increase the proportion of families receiving home visiting or family support services.
To be measured by:
- Count of families served by maternal and infant home visiting services countywide (First 5 Orange County and non-First 5 Orange County funded) compared to the number of potentially eligible families, as determined by the May 2018 Pritzker Children’s Initiative Profile (numerator) and babies born in the 0-39th percentile of the California Smart Start Index (denominator).
- Count of families receiving family support services compared to the number of potentially eligible families.
Value of measure: The ability to identify and support families in need is a key contribution an early childhood system can provide. High-quality home visiting services have been demonstrated to reduce incidences of child abuse and neglect, improve birth outcomes, improve school readiness for children, and have a high level of return on investment. Since not all eligible families agree to home visiting services, this metric also measures access to other family support services, such as family specialist support within the pediatric primary care setting.
Resilient Families 3: Reduce the number of young children experiencing homelessness and increase the percentage of families that find permanent housing.
To be measured by:
- Count of families with at least one child age 0-5 experiencing homelessness (e.g., sheltered, unsheltered, or living in a motel) according to the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
- Percentage of families with children age 0-5 experiencing homelessness that find permanent housing according to HMIS.
Value of measure: Homelessness has documented negative impacts on children, including mental health, physical health, developmental status, and academic achievement. Stable housing for families with young children is a primary need for family resiliency.