Author: Sarah-Ellen Thompson

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Project HOPE’s National Conference Held in Alabama

(Pictured L-R) Lee Johnson III, Director of State and National Cross-Agency Collaboration at the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education; Bernard Houston, Administrator for Childcare Services and Workforce Development at the Alabama Department of Human Resources; Dawn Owens, Tandem Early Education Consultant and Project HOPE diarist; Darryl Rock, National Program Director, Southern Christian Leadership Foundation


The APC was honored to host the Project HOPE National partner meeting in Montgomery October 15-17. The meeting brought in attendees from Project HOPE programs in Minnesota, California, and New Jersey. This 3-day conference allowed this multi-state, cross-systems team to work on building program capacity to advance shared actions within the early childhood systems, and to advance positive outcomes for children and families. Led by the BUILD Initiative, HOPE stands for Harnessing Opportunity for Positive, Equitable Early Childhood Development. Chosen through a competitive grant process, the Alabama team consists of members from the Alabama Partnership for Children, and departments of Early Childhood Education, Human Resources, Mental Health, Public Health, and Rehabilitation Services/Early Intervention, and the Alabama Medicaid Agency.

“Alabama was host to the October convening of Project HOPE. We had an amazing time sharing insights from beneficiary voices from as far west as California and as far north as Minnesota. Most salient of the lessons learned was the value of cross sector collaboration for innovative approaches to serving vulnerable populations.”

–Bernard Houston, Administrator for Childcare Services and Workforce Development-Alabama Department of Human Resources

This collaborative initiative aims to develop a targeted action plan for promoting early childhood systems that are explicitly and measurably equitable — and excellent for all children. This time for planning allows systems to have the capacity to understand differential impact, including the historical and current context of services, programs, policies, funding, and regulations. This work is critical to enable a better understanding of how to distribute state and federal resources in the service of achieving outcomes for young children and their families. Strategic action-steps were highlighted during the conference to practice using roles, responsibilities, and leadership’s authority and influence to implement actions that lead to a reduction in racial, economic, and geographic inequities and disparities.

In addition to the work sessions, the group also heard from guest speaker, Rachel Egboro, from The Whole Story who led a workshop on effective ways for state teams to tell a collective story about efforts taken to target inequities in their state.

The next national meeting will be held in Minnesota in March 2020.

Dr. Valda Montgomery, Civil Rights Activist, Historian, Author, and Professor; pictured with Darryl Rock, National Program Director, Southern Christian Leadership Foundation.

by Sarah-Ellen Thompson Sarah-Ellen Thompson No Comments

Report from the 5th Annual Alabama Project LAUNCH PDI and Summit

The 5th Annual Alabama Project LAUNCH Professional Development Institute (PDI) and Summit was held May 8 & 9 in Tuscaloosa.

There were 156 registrants and four tracks at the PDI, the most tracks and sessions ever offered.  This year’s event had very positive reviews, including comments that this year’s PDI was the best one yet. See the photos below to view some of the activities and programs that took place.

What’s next for Alabama Project LAUNCH training?

There will be a two-day training on Reflective Supervision in collaboration with First 5 Alabama on September 9 & 10, 2019.  Look for information coming soon on our website.

Brain Architecture Game session where attendees may have been frustrated but had fun while learning how the brain develops and what can affect its growth in early childhood.

Another image from the Brain Architecture Game session.

During the summit, Tiffany Higginbotham and Dr. Erin Reilly returned to speak for a third time! Attendees request them back each year.

Attendees have fun while learning, and they enjoy being active participants in every session.

by Sarah-Ellen Thompson Sarah-Ellen Thompson No Comments

Registration is Now Closed for Project LAUNCH 2019 Summit

Registration is closed for the 2019 Alabama Project LAUNCH Early Childhood Summit that will be held on May 8-9 at the Bryant Conference Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. If you need information or have questions, please contact Sarah-Ellen Thompson; toll-free 1-866-711-4025 or


The Summit will focus on strengthening adult capacities to ensure children’s optimal development, and is open to all early childhood professionals, mental health practitioners, physicians, educators, home visitors, or any other professionals across the state working directly with children birth to eight years old.

Project LAUNCH, which stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health, promotes the wellness of young children from birth to eight years by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development. The Alabama Partnership for Children partners with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and Child Development Resources of The University of Alabama for Project LAUNCH’s local implementation in Tuscaloosa.

The Summit includes programs on: CARE – Child Adult Relationship Enhancement; Brain Development; Reflective Supervision – Does It Have a Place in Clinical Supervision; Brain Architecture Game; Calming Tools for Use in Early Childhood Settings; Behavior 101 – A Practical Guide to Lying, Cheating, Stealing, Manipulation, Violence/Aggression & Hoarding; and Early Childcare Providers – Supporting the Whole Family.

Registration costs $30 for the Professional Development Institute, $35 for the Project LAUNCH Summit, and $60 for both days. CEU certificates are also available.

For more information about Alabama Project LAUNCH at the state level, please contact Sarah-Ellen Thompson; toll-free 1-866-711-4025 or For information about Alabama Project LAUNCH in Tuscaloosa, please contact Caroline Branton; 205-348-0459 or

Click Here for more about Project LAUNCH.