HFWCNY Funds 17 Programs to Support the Health and Wellbeing of Children

The Health Foundation recently awarded grants of up to $25,000 to 17 leading nonprofit organizations in the region through its “Innovations in Children’s Health and Wellbeing in Western and Central New York” initiative.

The Foundation selected a wide range of projects based on innovation and exploration, along with the opportunity to deliver new and better ways to address the existing or emerging needs of children age 0-5 impacted by poverty. These programs will lead to better health outcomes for children in our communities, and will address one of the following domains of work:

  • Education, including pre-literacy
  • Health, including physical, oral, vision, behavioral and mental health
  • Safety
  • Social and emotional development, including practices for building resiliency

During the next 12-18 months, organizations will implement their projects throughout the 16 counties in the two regions in which the Foundation works.  Grantees include:

ABC Cayuga, Inc.:  $23,690 to test new approaches to reaching vulnerable, first-time parents of infants.  The goal of the program “Play Space: Engagement for New Parents,” is to provide a safe and nurturing place where parents and babies can grow together while reducing social isolation and building parent-child engagement skills.

Alleghany Early Childhood Learning Center Seneca Nation of Indians:  $15,000 to purchase, implement and evaluate the trauma-informed “Care for Kids” curriculum. Care for Kids focuses on preventing child abuse, specifically sexual abuse. This program will be implemented in collaboration with other local providers and includes ongoing staff training and assistance in creating healthy learning environments.

BestSelf Behavioral Health:  $25,000 for the “Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with Toddlers”:  Improving Attachment and Emotion Regulation (PCIT-T) project. PCIT-T is an evidence-based intervention for children 2 to 7 years of age. This model has been adapted to meet the developmental needs of children aged 12 to 24 months. It places strong emphasis on the role of the caregiver in recognizing and supporting a child’s emotional and physical needs, as well as the development of parenting skills that optimize secure attachment.

Cayuga Community Health Network:  $23,419 to implement “Better Interactions Means Better Eating.” Offered in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County, the project aims to increase exposure to healthy, nutritious foods, reduce mealtime stress and create positive associations with healthy food and mealtime for young children and their caregivers.

 Child Care Resource Network:  $20,000 for the caregiver-focused training “Parents Interacting With Infants” (PIWI), which aims to enhance and support parent and provider relationships with children by providing meaningful opportunities for play. The program utilizes a coaching philosophy to educate, monitor and model parent/provider interactions with children to improve caregiver-child bonding, increase attachment, develop protective factors and more.

The Child Development Council:  $25,000 to implement ‘Team Dad’, which will increase father involvement by providing resources and support for men raising young children. Through this project, Family Support Workers visit fathers in their homes on a monthly basis. Visits focus on child development information, parenting skills education and connecting fathers to community resources.

EPIC (Every Person Influences Children):  $25,000 to expand an enhanced ‘Ready Set Read’ (RSR) program. This includes new curriculum development and the addition of a parent-child component with extra time in each session for monitored parent-child interactions.

Explore and More Children’s Museum:  $20,000 for the ‘Books, Balls & Blocks’ (BB&B) program. Help Me Grow WNY created this 90-minute interactive program to provide information about child development, developmental screenings and community resources in a fun and entertaining venue.

Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse:  $25,000 for “Access Matters – Supporting Children of Individuals Struggling with Addiction.” Funding for this project includes creation of child care and early learning centers at two clinics to provide safe, supervised programs for children while their caregivers are receiving treatment services. Other relevant programs, such as WIC, SNAP and others, will provide staff at each location to reduce barriers to participation.

Kids Oneida, Inc.:  $25,000 for “Health Connections from the Start Initiative,” which provides wraparound services to children under five who are separated from one or both parents and enhances supervised visitation by incorporating trauma-informed practices.

Mental Health Advocates of WNY:  $25,000 for “Basic Emotional Skills Training.” BEST is a classroom- based mental health program that develops and strengthens students’ social and emotional skills and promotes positive behaviors for children in Pre-K through 2nd grade. The program incorporates Teaching Kids to Care, which aims to improve behavior of Pre-K children through development of self-regulation skills.

Niagara University:  $25,000 for “Nurturing in the Neighborhood,” which will bring direct services to children in the South End of Niagara Falls. Nurturing the Neighborhood integrates early literacy; social, emotional and physical development; as well as nutritional health. This program operates in partnership with the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the Niagara Falls City School District.

Prevent Child Abuse NY:  $25,000 for the Resilient Early Childhood Model Sites Initiative, which will incorporate implementation of “Protective Factors and Care for Kids” in two early childhood care settings. The program applies a two-generation approach to building resiliency so that parents benefit from enhanced protective factors along with their children.

Reach Out and Read:  $20,000 to implement and evaluate “Rx for Literacy” at the Neighborhood Health Center. The program will promote Reach Out and Read’s “Early Literacy Prescription,” which provides books for families with children between 6 months and 5 years of age. Books are distributed during regular pediatric check-ups, along with prescriptions for reading that direct families to additional resources offered through Help Me Grow WNY and other early childhood services in the community.

The Research Foundation for Mental Health:  $11,935 to implement “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” at the Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracuse. This program addresses the mental health needs of pregnant and postpartum women as a way of helping the mother-child dyad. It consists of assessment, medication management, individual and group therapy, nutrition support, parenting education and other services provided by partner organizations. Program providers participate in Trauma Resiliency Training for Mothers, Women and Children to integrate mindful parenting.

The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area:  $25,000 for the ‘Ready for Kindergarten’ (R4K) project, which allows the Family School Navigator program to expand to an additional site. The program is grounded in the bio-psycho-social model of human development.

The YMCA of Greater Syracuse:  $18,845 to decrease the number of swim/water-related deaths and injuries through their “YMCA Safety Around Water” program. This project targets children age 3 to 5 years in the City of Syracuse and asks family members to participate in the program to enhance the confidence of caregivers with their children in and around water.