Leadership Team Update
A brief report from the August 4, 2015 meeting
The meeting started with a "Reports from the Ground" panel comprised of members from Family Services of Western Pennsylvania (Greensburg), STEP (Williamsport) and Health Bureau (Allentown). The panel discussed their implementation of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors framework, the approach and its effect on organizational culture, challenges they faced and suggestions for resources that would support the implementation. The leadership team will continue to utilize this format to learn about local implementation of the Strengthening Families approach.
Steering Committee – suggested that the leadership team view the documentary The Raising of America and discuss it at the next meeting.
Marketing and Media Committee – reported that the website is currently up-to-date and reviewed the resources available at the website.
Professional Development Committee – reported that between July 2014 and June 30, 2015 twenty-five standalone courses and six series of the Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work have been offered across the state.
Roles Committee – reported that they are still developing the evaluation plan. The evaluation plan will help to define what local organizations, individuals and agencies need from the Strengthening Families leadership team. The next step of the evaluation plan is developing the logic model for Pennsylvania.
In addition to the committee updates various member organizations provided updates regarding their programs, upcoming meetings, webinars, trainings and implementation of the Strengthening Families approach.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM at the Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, Pa.
Introducing Michelle Figlar, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning
Before Michelle Figlar’s appointment to the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (a dual deputation under the Departments of Education and Human Services) she recently served as the executive director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, a 1,500-member affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Figlar has also demonstrated her leadership in the field of early childhood education by co-chairing Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education, serving as a member of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Council as well as the Early Learning PA and Pre-K for PA Campaigns. She served on the boards of the Birmingham Foundation; the Education Policy and Leadership Center; and Jeremiah’s Place, western Pennsylvania’s first crisis nursery. Figlar also served on the Advisory Council for Remake Learning, which focuses on bringing innovation to children, families and educators, and served as an adjunct instructor for the University of Pittsburgh, applied developmental psychology program.
Before returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh, Figlar had served as the early childhood program manager for the Office of Early Childhood, Invest in Children Initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a recipient of a prestigious Head Start Fellowship in 2003 and worked with both the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and the National Head Start Association. She has also served as a Head Start director, preschool special education teacher and AmeriCorps VISTA.
Inaugural Strengthening Families Philadelphia Summit
On August 6, 2015 family support professionals from the Philadelphia area gathered for the inaugural Strengthening Families Philadelphia Summit: A Strong Family Builds a Strong Community sponsored by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS). The conference focused on linking the Strengthening Families approach with healthcare, education, child welfare and faith based organizations. Keynote speaker, Carol Wilson Spigner, board chair from the Center for the Study of Social Policy, discussed the Strengthening Families Protective Factors framework and its impact on the child welfare field. Members of the Pennsylvania Strengthening Families Leadership Team (SFLT) discussed ways to further integrate this approach at an organizational and worker level as well as how the work of the SFLT has evolved over time. Workshops were led by local, state and national experts in family support principles. There were opportunities to network and learn more about services available in the community.
This summit represents the continuation of the work undertaken by DHS to restructure and improve services to families. As a part of the Improving Outcomes for Children Initiative, Community Umbrella Agencies (CUAs) were created and staff across the city have been trained in the Strengthening Families approach. CUAs are sharing how families can build protective factors during Parent Cafés that use the Be Strong Families model.
Learn more about Philadelphia’s work to incorporate the Strengthening Families approach.
October is Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children Month
Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children Month is an opportunity to celebrate the young children in your community and the families, teachers, volunteers and community leaders that help our young children reach their promise through quality early education. Here are some fun ways to celebrate.
Early Childhood Education Summit
December 2-4; State College, Pa.
The summit includes more than two hundred workshop sessions, inspiring keynotes and opportunities to dialogue and learn while building a stronger early learning community. Early care and education practitioners, parents and advocates from across the early learning and school-age spectrum are encouraged to attend. Register Now