ECFC Early Relational Health Commitee

Join ECFC and Perigee Fund for a site visit program that explores Early Relational Health –What does it look like to support well-being and nurture both families and organizations with a real respect for differences?

Grantmakers in Health Annual Conference
Site Visit: June 12, 2019
12:30pm – 4:00pm
GIH conference registration required.

Best Starts for Kids is considered the most comprehensive approach to child development in the nation, investing $65M/year in King County. Best Starts prenatal to five investments have a deep focus on early relational health and are committed to reaching children and families where they are in their prenatal to five years—homes, child care settings, and communities – with an emphasis on racial equity and culturally-specific supports. As infants and children learn about the world around them and the people in their lives, feeling loved, supported, and safe is crucial for their growth and development.

The identity and cultural match of service providers and families during this intense time is critical to effective relationship building, which in turn influences their ability to build relational health between children and adult caregivers. 

El Centro de la Raza and Open Arms are two local programs that focus specifically on community-designed solutions and providing a strong cultural match between provider and family.  Together, they represent components of a broader portfolio of supports for families with young children that meet the needs of each community uniquely.   

El Centro de la Raza is a voice and a hub for Seattle and Martin Luther King, Jr. County’s Latino community, advocating and working to achieve social justice. Through comprehensive programs and services, their work empowers members of the Latino community.  Recognizing the importance of relational health and early supports, the organization serves as a provider of the Parent Child Home Program, a home visiting program originating in King County where home visitors model reading, conversation, and play activities designed to stimulate parent-child interaction, develop language and literacy skills, build school readiness, improve social-emotional development for the child, and strengthen positive parent behavior.

Open Arms provides trained birth doulas and community-based early parenting support.  Their clients are from communities with many strengths, but also the highest rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, infant mortality, and child maltreatment. During pregnancy, birth, and early parenting Open Arms’ doulas provide individualized supports to nurture strong foundations, focusing on the well-being of both caregiver and child. 

But these two organizations represent more than just innovative programs.  El Centro has long been an anchor in Seattle’s Beacon Hill community, bringing community advocates together and bridging both programs and communities.  Open Arms has been validated by formal evaluations, and as interest has grown in early learning, infant mental health, and disparities in maternal mortality, Open Arms has stepped up its engagement in local, state, and national advocacy and started to play a role advising culturally-specific replications in other communities.  

This site visit opportunity will also explore the role local funders have played in building a stronger base of culturally specific community-based organizations.  Best Starts for Kids will discuss their vision and the way they are structuring investments to nurture community innovation, and Social Venture Partners will discuss the capacity building work they and Open Arms have done together through general operating funds and building a partnership designed to help to navigate changes as the organization’s role and funding model has shifted. 

To conclude, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from home visiting staff from different programs, each reaching out and building relationships with families in their community to provide supports for relational health.