Building Community Capacity focuses on enhancing the capacity of providers and organizations, families, and systems to support whole child health through training and coaching, service provision, parent partnership and leadership developmentand collaboration within and across sectors. 

Organizational Capacity Building

The Whole Child Connection at Children’s Institute seeks to build the capacity of child-serving organizations and individuals to embrace and implement a whole child approach. Whole Child Connection provides assessment, resources, trainingcoachingand consultation services that leverage partnerships across sectors and span a range of content areas including social and emotional learning, restorative practices, trauma-informed care, infant and early childhood mental health, behavioral health, and reflective supervisionamong others. In the K-12 education space, Whole Child Connection has been partnering with several Rochester City School District elementary schools to facilitate a whole child health planning processand is also providing services to many other area school districts. 

Society for the Protection & Care of Children (SPCC) was awarded a grant to build capacity for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) and Reflective Supervision (RS) practice across disciplines and sectors. The IECMH field strives to advance relationship driven, culturally responsive, and trauma informed practices to support children’s social-emotional development and well-being. In partnership with The Whole Child Connection and Healthi Kids, SPCC will expand IECMH and RS training and consultation offerings while engaging in field building advocacy.

Parent and Family Capacity Building

Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) was awarded a grant to support the launch of a seventh cohort of its nationally recognized parent leadership curriculum, as well as ongoing alumni engagement and evaluation activitiesAlong with staff from the National Parent Leadership Institute, PLTI alumni are helping to provide technical assistance to other grantees to help them build organizational capacity for effective parent partnership.   

Healthy Baby Network has been awarded grants for its work to reduce inequities in maternal and child healthProjects include training and certification of Black Doulas to support more equitable, higher-quality care for Black mothers, who suffer disproportionate morbidity and mortality as well as disparities in birth outcomes linked with structural racism. Healthy Baby Network is also working to provide perinatal health education and other critical services for pregnant and parenting families, strengthen fatherhood engagement, and support parent leadership and advocacy. 

Advancing Systems Change

GROW Rochester, an initiative of ROC the Future directed by Children’s Institute, provides comprehensive developmental screening and referral services for three-year olds in the City of Rochester. The program facilitates early detection and intervention for vision, hearing, speech/language, dental health, and social-emotional needs, which can improve school readiness and reduce risk for later academic, behavioral or health problems. 

The Greater Rochester Commission on Children’s Social and Emotional Health Implementation Task Force (ITF) works across sectors to address issues of access, capacity, and quality of care related to children’s social-emotional and behavioral health. The ITF has supported integration of trauma responsive practices and is currently focusing on “intersectionality:” Teams from several area school districts are engaging in collaborative learning with consultants from the University of Rochester Child Psychiatry Division to improve service coordination and referral in order to better support children with behavioral health challenges. More information on the work of the ITF is available here. 

Community tables are venues for knowledge sharing and collaboration with other organizations and initiatives working directly or indirectly to improve children’s health, development, and achievement including ROC the Future, Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), All Kids Thrive, Systems Integration, the Greater Rochester Afterschool Alliance (GRASA), and the Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI).

Evaluation and Dissemination

In May 2018 the Health Foundation awarded a contract to the RAND Corporation for a comprehensive process and outcomes evaluation of the Healthy Futures strategy. The evaluation will assess the contributions of the strategy to organizational practice and systems changes as well as improved physical, cognitive, social, and emotional health of children in the Greater Rochester Area. The evaluation is also intended to provide the foundation and its grantees with ongoing feedback to support successful implementation.  

In the course of the Healthy Futures strategy, we will seek to share what we are learning with other funders and organizations and to be informed by others’ efforts and insights. To date, we have presented with partners at regional and national conferences including the New York Funders Alliance and Grantmakers in Health.