This Partnership Helps Families Build Baby’s Brain in Early Years

School Readiness is one of Children’s Services Council’s four goals. Though state standards have changed three times since 2013, children in our Healthy Beginnings programs consistently score better on kindergarten readiness assessments (56.3 percent in 2018, latest available) than peers who are not in our programs (52.6 percent). Even so, we want to show stronger results.

So in summer 2019, CSC launched the nation’s first demonstration community of the TMW suite of interventions created by the Thirty Million Words (TMW) Center for Early Learning and Public Health at the University of Chicago. Our goal is to provide at least one TMW intervention (through video) to 60 percent of families with children birth to 3 in nine targeted ZIP codes near the pilot hospital. By year-end 2019, 474 targeted families were offered the TMW video; 56 percent completed it and met with a liaison at the hospital; and nearly 70 percent of those signed up for additional information about their baby’s brain development.

TMW Center conducted a nationwide request for proposals in 2018 to create a population-level shift in the knowledge and behavior of parents and caregivers to boost brain development of children in the first five years, particularly those birth to age three and born into poverty. The project embeds TMW’s evidence-based interventions within CSC’s long-established system of care for early childhood education, called Healthy Beginnings.

Videos describe the 3Ts: “Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns.” Results for TMW Newborn, a 12-minute video viewed at the hospital after a baby is born, are described above. TMW Well-Baby is a series of four 10-minute videos delivered in two pediatric clinics during well-child visits at 1, 2, 4 and 6 months. Since October, 71% of parents offered these videos completed them, and 63% signed up for more emails. The third component, TMW Let’s Talk, will launch in 2021 for parent groups in community-based settings.

This project seamlessly connects CSC’s 2017 Pacesetter recognition for the Healthy Beginnings system, GLR’s focus on school readiness and successful parents, and TMW’s public health approach to early learning that puts parents and caregivers at the center of their child’s brain development. CSC is investing $2.5 million over five years; the TMW Center provides the remaining $7.5 million of project costs.

About Healthy, Safe, Strong Stories

Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County continues to serve local children and families with the same mission that’s motivated us since 1986: to keep our county’s children healthy, safe and strong. This #HealthySafeStrong series highlights some of the programs and services we provide that help our children succeed in school. This project is one example of our work to improve children’s literacy, for which CSC has been honored by the national Grade-Level Reading Campaign as a “Pacesetter” community. To contact Children’s Services Council, please click here.