Change in Mind U.S. Cohort Sites

As part of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities initiative Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities, the following 10 U.S. members of the Alliance and five non-governmental organizations in Alberta, Canada were chosen to infuse, align, and accelerate established neuroscience discoveries about the effects of life-altering toxic stress into their community-based work.

It is the goal that their work will determine if this groundbreaking science can transform policies to move the needle on some of the most difficult social issues facing our communities.

Children and Families First in Wilmington, Delaware

Details of CFF Looking Ahead:

  • Develop a leadership framework to connect the many public and private partners and systems focused on trauma and brain science
  • Develop a comprehensive system to collect and analyze adverse childhood experiences (ACE) data statewide and use that data to inform policy and practice
  • Engage legislators and policymakers to ensure that concepts in trauma and brain science are included in appropriate policy decisions
  • Develop social marketing efforts and peer-to-peer networks to ensure that ACEs concepts are broadly understood and valued
  • Support communities to prevent and heal from ACEs

Systems Focus: Juvenile justice, K-12 education, child welfare, adult corrections, substance abuse, health, mental health, and early education

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee

Details of Strong Families, Thriving Communities:

  • Advocate for policy changes, including more flexibility in federal and state funding, that support greater availability of innovative evidence-based or evidence-informed interventions that support child development and family resilience
  • Create incentives and training opportunities for mental health providers in evidence-based approaches
  • Engage academic institutions in adapting evidence-based approaches to provide them to more families in innovative ways

Systems Focus: Health, child welfare, Medicaid, mental health, workforce, and academia

Wellspring Family Services in Seattle

Details of Aligning Brain Science with Best Practices to Support Family Well-Being:

  • Implement an agency-wide framework based on brain science principles and resulting best practices for service implementation and administrative policy and practices; implement a two-generation approach throughout programs
  • Translate brain science knowledge into organizational structure and culture
  • Accelerate the application and integration of brain science into practice and policy that impacts homeless families within Seattle/King County by modifying the early learning quality rating and improvement system and moderating the rapid rehousing strategy in the homeless family system so that both systems reflect an approach based on brain science

Systems Focus: Health, early education, and housing

LaSalle School in Albany, New York

Details of Brain Science Awareness Project:

  • Accelerate the dissemination of information about brain science to a variety of regional and state-level stakeholder and contribute to the national dialogue and emerging awareness so that that those stakeholders will be well versed in a common understanding about brain science and the effects of trauma
  • In collaboration with key partners, provide educational opportunities and training so that the skills of practitioners are improved and parents/caregivers have increased access to instruction and training that enhance the likelihood of their child’s positive brain development
  • Improve practice by publishing research articles geared toward academic audiences with findings about ACEs and brain science
  • Increase the knowledge of brain science among New York legislators and policy makers as the groundwork for important gains in health care and prevention services and policies targeted toward early childhood and adolescent populations

Systems Focus: Health, prevention, early education, youth development, child welfare, and workforce

KVC Health Systems in Olathe, Kansas

Details of Brain Science for Healthy Children, Families, and Communities:

  • Integrate brain science content with KVC’s large continuum of care, which spans four states and reaches over 20,000 children and families each year
  • Educate key KVC leaders who are most capable of infusing brain science into policy, regulatory, and fiscal changes within the regional and national macro-level systems
  • Develop awareness level content appropriate for caregivers, direct support treatment providers, teachers, and other community supports
  • Develop hands on brain science tools for providers to complement current trauma-informed care and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports tools

Systems Focus: Health, mental health, child welfare, K-12 education, and workforce

The Family Partnership in Minneapolis

Details of Minnesota Brain Science Coalition:

  • Identify individual thought leaders and organizations/institutions in Minnesota that know the research and/or are thinking about how to use brain science to improve health/human service outcomes
  • Map the existing brain science knowledge and expertise in Minnesota, and make it accessible to stakeholders and communities through digital and print media
  • Convene a statewide coalition of experts, practitioners, advocates, and concerned community members to advance awareness and promote policy informed by brain science
  • Educate communities about brain science and train community champions in the advocacy and leadership skills required to partner with experts in pushing for institutional change
  • Work with coalition members to publish a working document outlining the policy implications emerging from brain science and outlining specific policy opportunities that the coalition might pursue
  • Based on the opportunities identified in the working document, develop a long-term policy advocacy plan to pursue some of these policy opportunities

Systems Focus: Health, human services, juvenile justice, early education, K-12 education, and domestic violence.

Martha O’Bryan Center in Nashville, Tennessee

Details of Project: Force for Good:

  • Influence partners via existing platforms on the benefits of integrating brain science research and practice into program and service delivery.
  • Build on current work to provide preventative solutions to domestic violence and other community stressors, based on brain science research, through its U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Force for Good project
  • Create an evidence base that contributes to greater understanding of ACEs, trauma-informed care, and program delivery across Metropolitan Nashville

Systems Focus: Domestic violence, law enforcement, K-12 education, child welfare, early education, local government, workforce

East End House in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Details of Catalyzing Community around Brain Science Research:

  • Act as a knowledge broker for a diverse cross-section of the community, including policy stakeholders, funders, government officials, and local residents, to accelerate the integration of brain science research into decision making on the individual, community, policy, and systems levels
  • Create systems level change in the nonprofit and public sectors through the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition, with a focus on infusing brain science and child development into the collective impact work of the coalition and the emergent community benefits agreement process
  • Create systems change in the public education system in Cambridge by expanding the emphasis of education from academics and test scores alone to a more holistic vision of child well-being that is aligned with best practices emergent from current brain science and child development research
  • Serve as a demonstration site and effectively disseminate best practices on the integration of brain science research into organizational practice and culture and evidence-based processes for systems leadership for collective impact to the community of service providers in Cambridge, across Massachusetts, and nationally
  • Influence national policy conversations around health by leveraging the collective impact of the cohort as a whole, in collaboration with the other cohort members and the larger Alliance and foundation networks

Systems Focus: Local government, human services, early education, K-12 education, and health

Family Service Association of San Antonio in San Antonio

Details of Accelerating Brain Science Application in South Texas:

  • Strengthen the alignment of preventive and proactive parent/family education services to reduce the incidence and lasting trauma of adverse childhood experiences for children and families involved in Child Protective Services. Strategies include:
    • Advocating for standardized use of assessment tools that track ACE scores
    • Promoting use of evidence-based interventions that apply recent findings in brain science
    • Supporting multi-disciplinary case staffing for families involved in Child Protective Services that brings together law enforcement, state case workers, and clinical providers to holistically address families’ barriers and strengths
  • Advance advocacy for comprehensive rehabilitative services for juvenile offenders by advocating for and continuing joint pursuit of new funding opportunities with the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department to support model intervention family-based counseling, case management, and other supportive services such as job training for youth and their families that incorporate recent adolescent brain science findings
  • Facilitate the utilization of new brain science research in the provision of early childhood education services; share brain science cohort research and informed practices with other Head Start and childcare providers throughout the San Antonio community

Systems Focus: Parent education, prevention, child welfare, law enforcement, juvenile justice, youth development, early education, economic self-sufficiency

Children’s Home Society of Washington in Seattle

Details of Tackling "Wicked Problems" of Child Welfare by Accelerating Use of Brain Science:

  • Reduce and mitigate the effects of toxic stress for young children involved in the child welfare system by deepening and expanding the influence and impact of two innovative practice and policy efforts:
    • Build the leadership capacity of the Washington State Parent Ally Network to ensure the voice of birth parents is included in efforts to improve child welfare outcomes
    • Strengthen linkages between child welfare and early learning and development systems to increase enrollment of young child-welfare involved children and families in existing nonprofit resources

Systems Focus: Child welfare, early education, parent engagement

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