Childhaven is Flourishing!
For over 110 years Childhaven has been a leader in serving some of our community’s most at-risk, vulnerable and marginalized children. Throughout, we have remained committed to providing science-based and heart-centered services that move children and their primary caregivers from fear to hope and crisis to stability.
Over the past couple of years, we have been on a listening tour to discover:
- What does the community need most from Childhaven?
- What does the research say produces the best results?
- What program models are successfully scaling in other parts of the country?
As a result, our board and leadership have developed an adaptable plan that will enable us to better serve substantially more children and families. The purpose of this update is to convey highlights of the plan and extend an open invitation for you to become more deeply engaged in helping advance our mission. Please click the hyperlink below to jump to each topic:
Engage With Us!
Commitment To Innovation and Quality Improvement
For most the 1970s and 80s the Executive Director of Childhaven was Pat Gogerty. Pat and his team were the architects of Childhaven’s Therapeutic Childcare Program and responsible for bringing Head Start to the Northwest. Pat was also known for his commitment to evidence-informed best practices, innovation and continuous quality improvement. In 2010, Pat said, “through the last 100 years, this agency has constantly adapted to meet the needs of the community.”
Today, our community needs us to adapt again!
In all aspects of our programs and operations, we are re-committing to following the science, to innovating on top of today’s best practices, to embracing the concept of failing forward and rapid-cycle learning. We believe nothing can be sacrosanct in our steadfast commitment to ensuring that all children are safe and healthy; flourishing physically, socially, emotionally and educationally; and that each child and family is well supported by their community.
Investing in the Foundation of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health
Fundamentally, we are pivoting our program model to integrate infant/early childhood mental health principles and practice throughout our growing continuum of care. To accomplish this, we are investing in our workforce: embedding reflective supervision and consultation throughout the organization, providing core training in trauma and infant/early childhood mental health models to all staff, and bringing on evidence-based dyadic intervention frameworks to support children and families across service lines.
At the core of this work is the recognition that a child’s relationships with the important adults in their lives are the nucleus of resilience. To maximize impact, we recognize a need to significantly strengthen our multi-generational programming and make infant/early childhood mental health the business of all Childhaven team members. We are doubling down and deepening our commitment to supporting all of the caregivers in a child’s life in an evidence-informed, strength-based and trauma-informed way.
Commitment to Social Justice, Equity and Inclusion
Our listening tour and research also emphasized the reality that many of our clients and communities are routinely dealing with multiple levels of systemic inequity. We are also deepening our commitment to racial equity and social justice by fostering inclusiveness, valuing diversity and racial representation, facilitating healing, and by addressing disparities in the workplace, healthcare and education.
We have dedicated ourselves to creating programs and policies that are informed by and prioritized in response to the experiences, perspectives and needs of children and families of color. We aim to approach this work with respect, curiosity, self-awareness, authentic engagement, and a willingness to learn from one another, our clients and our communities. Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We are dedicated to knowing and doing better. We will learn from and be guided by the stories of our families, colleagues and community as we continue to develop an all-embracing continuum of care.
Enhancing our Legacy Program
Most people know Childhaven for the program that Pat and team developed in the mid-seventies, historically called either Therapeutic Childcare, Medicaid Treatment Childcare or ECLIPSE. While this has been a very beneficial service for the children referred, we recognized, we heard, and we learned from the evidence that we needed to do significantly more for parents and other primary caregivers if we truly wanted to maximize outcomes and impact.
In response, beginning this fall, we are combining ECLIPSE with the Wraparound Intensive Services framework (WISe) to create a one of a kind program called Flourish. This will be the state’s most intensive infant/early childhood mental health-focused model and will provide access to:
- 6.5 hours a day of center-based therapeutic support for children 0-5
- Dyadic treatment with parent and child, provided in the home or center-based environment
- Home and community-based work with a care coordinator and parent peer partner
- 24/7 Crisis support
- Seamless internal access to early intervention, parent training and other crucial supports
Improving Access by Growing our Continuum of Care
We have also learned from those we serve that the broader ‘child welfare system’ in which we operate is much too complex. There are too many providers, too many treatment plans and too many obstacles. As a result, there’s not nearly enough measurable improvements in outcomes.
With these thoughts in mind, we committed to becoming a much more comprehensive provider, where families can get many, if not most of the services they need to reach their full potential and can step down to less intensive services as their needs change and situation improves. As a starting point, in the past year we have added three new evidence-based service lines including:
- Home and community-based Early Intervention for children age birth to three and their families
- Individual and dyadic counseling for children age birth to 13 and their families
- ECEAP and Head Start
Thanks to the addition of these programs, we are now serving more children and families than we ever have, and we are serving them in a much more holistic and individualized manner. In the coming year we will continue to evaluate progress, bring on additional infant/early childhood mental health supports across all service lines, and grow and adapt as we learn what works…and what doesn’t.
As you may have already heard, we recently made the difficult decision to discontinue door-to-door van service for the children participating in our ECLIPSE / Flourish program. The extended vans we have historically used to pick-up and drop-off children are not recommended for transporting young children because they are prone to roll-overs and severe injury. Although it is currently not illegal to use the vans in the state of Washington, and we have never had an accident that resulted in serious injury, we decided that we must prioritize the safety of the children and our staff. Our state contractor, the Department of Children, Youth and Family Services agreed with our decision, actually requiring that we discontinue the service by July 1st.
We have been diligently working with families, state agencies and other community based organizations to help remove transportation barriers to ensure children and families can get what they need when they need it. We are also providing gas and bus cards to qualifying families as we pursue additional options.
New Program Leadership
Finally, we are thrilled to announce that we have added two new program leaders to help us implement these changes, grow our programs, improve our workforce development, and enhance Childhaven’s leadership position locally and nationally.
Megan Beers, PhD has been hired as our Director of Programs. Megan is a licensed clinical psychologist. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in early childhood mental health and has a rich background leading program design and implementation as well as training staff in both early learning and mental health contexts. Megan came to us from Wellspring Family Services, where she was the Senior Director of Early Childhood Services and led the integration of infant/early childhood mental health and trauma-informed care across Wellspring programs. Megan is passionate about building early childhood systems of care, as well as supporting the state’s early childhood workforce and improving quality of care through reflective supervision and consultation.
Tracy Kaplan has been hired as our new Flourish Program Director. Tracy brings a wealth of expertise in applying infant/early childhood mental health principles and strategies to interdisciplinary work with young children and their families. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist and feeding specialist who also has a fellowship certification in Infant/Parent Mental Health. Tracy has spent 15 years working with young children, in both classroom and home-based models. She is an accomplished trainer and reflective consultant who is certified in numerous infant/early childhood mental health programs.
Centralized Referral and Intake
To further improve access and simplify the referral and intake process we have created a centralized access and multi-disciplinary assessment process with multiple ways to make referrals. Here’s the new central referral and intake information:
For More Information
Finally, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any thoughts, ideas or questions:
- Jon Botten, CEO
- Additional Program Information or Trainings: Megan Beers
- Referrals: Kelsey
- Partnership Opportunities: Beth
- Donations: Kristi
- Tours or Volunteering: Dannie
While we are very excited about how our programs are growing and evolving, ultimately…
It is people, not programs, who help others thrive.
Thank you for being part of the essential network of people that support our mission.