by Lauren Till Lauren Till No Comments

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 Lauren Till Lauren Till No Comments

Celebrating Successes of Child Health and Wellness!

Since 2016, the Alabama Partnership for Children and partners across the state have rallied together with the goal of supporting the healthy development of young children that attend all types of Early Care and Education (ECE) programs in Alabama.

The purpose of these initiatives are to support ECE programs’ efforts to implement best practices in relation to obesity prevention and to develop healthy child care environments. The APC and many other partners across the state have made great progress over the last year and are celebrating milestones achieved.

Currently, the APC contracts with partners in five areas of the state (Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa County areas) to implement the Early Care and Education Learning Collaboratives program for all types of child care around obesity prevention topics, including nutrition, physical activity, breastfeeding, and screen time. The learning collaborative model includes in-person trainings, assessments, networking, and technical assistance to develop and implement program specific action plans. These learning collaboratives have reached 163 child care providers over the last three years and have increased from two collaboratives annually to five. Participation includes both centers and home-based ECE programs.

Formerly known as the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Stakeholder Group, the AL Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Coalition (AL HKHF) met in July 2019 to share updates, celebrate successes and to discuss plans for collaboration throughout the next year. Several projects have been developed and are being piloted through the work of this group. Here are several updates:

  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Focus: The APC and Nemours invited the Institute for Public Health Innovation to lead a two-day training on health equity, diversity and inclusion for the AL HKHF Coalition to learn about how to have a more intentional focus on equity and diversity. This training took place on August 29-30, 2019.
  • Online Go NAPSACC Program: The online Go NAPSACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care) Program is an assessment and action planning tool that is available to any child care program in Alabama! This tool will help child care staff to learn about and implement obesity prevention best practices in their programs. To learn more and to register, please see the attached flyer.
  • Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care: In partnership with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), Alabama Department of Public Health, and the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee, the APC has worked over the last year to support the development of the Alabama Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Program. The program is currently being piloted. ACES and APC have provided many training opportunities for child care providers across the state so far this year.
  • Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE): The Alabama Farm to ECE Coalition finalized a three-year strategic plan early in 2019, and the Coalition was awarded an opportunity to participate in a Farm to ECE innovation and improvement project through the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN). They are working now to develop training materials and to implement an ECE learning collaborative focused on Farm to ECE.

We are thrilled at the progress that has been made so far, and we are tirelessly working to continue reaching more child care programs to ensure that our Alabama children have a healthy start in life!

To learn more or to get involved, please contact Caliste Chong at

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