Project LAUNCH - New York
What is Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health)?
A federally-funded SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services' project that aims to improve the well-being of children, from birth to 8 years of age, so that they can reach physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive developmental milestones and are prepared to thrive in school and beyond.
New York Project LAUNCH contributes to the strategic direction provided by the Early Childhood Advisory Council to the State of New York on early childhood issues. By promoting the integration of evidence-based health, mental health, and family support services, NY Project LAUNCH supports New York in building a comprehensive and sustainable early childhood system that will ensure success for all young children.
Three guiding principles apply:
- Ecological framework—Child development is influenced by the child’s family, home environment, community, school, neighborhood and society as a whole, in addition to individual factors.
- Public health approach—Awareness promotion and prevention activities in addition to treating problems after they occur
- Holistic perspective—Health encompasses all aspects of development including physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral
What are the objectives of Project LAUNCH?
Project LAUNCH funds enable the partnering agencies to:
- Improve coordination and collaboration across the systems that serve young children
- Provide greater access to high-quality care and evidence-based programs for young children and their families
- Raise awareness and increase knowledge about young child wellness through education and workforce development activities
What specific activities are taking place?
Each Project LAUNCH grantee implements a range of evidence-based practices in five designated topic areas to promote young child wellness in their target communities; prevent the need for intensive interventions when possible; and provide appropriate, effective treatment when needed.
The five promotion and prevention strategies with a sample of activities are:
1. Mental Health Consultation in Early Care and Education programs. In New York State, the implementation strategies are re-framed as “Supporting Early Care and Learning Programs by meeting the social-emotional development needs of young children and their families.” Examples of activities in this area include: promoting higher health promotion (including mental health) standards in QUALITYstarsNY (New York’s quality rating and improvement system for early care and education); developing a toolkit of distance learning activities and resources for early childhood providers; sponsoring a mini-grant process by which local communities assess and respond to ways to strengthen their coordinated system of mental health services and supports to infants, toddlers and their families and care providers.
2. Home Visiting strengthened through increased focus on social-emotional well-being. State and local Project LAUNCH staffs have contributed to the state’s implementation of a strong Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. At the state level staff represent Project LAUNCH on the NYS Home Visiting Coalition, coordinating with the Health Department’s leadership on MIECHV and at the local level staff contributed significantly to a county application for state MICEHV funds.
3. Developmental Assessments and screening in a variety of child serving settings. Some activities in this area are: identifying communities that have initiated screening and assessment protocols across systems; developing educational materials for parents and providers on the value of developmental screening; and creating a well-coordinated system of screening with professional development on use of screening tools.
4. Family Strengthening, parenting education and support. New York State is fortunate to have an extensive array of dedicated parenting educators organized as the New York State Parenting Education Network (NYSPEP). NYSPEP provides on going professional development for practitioners, has recently released a four-tier credentialing system, and is actively promoting the benefits of parenting education and support for New Yorkers. In Westchester and New York City, evidence-based parenting education opportunities have been expanded in the target communities. In Westchester the Nurturing Parenting model is being implemented by Family Ties of Westchester and in New York City the Office of Mental Health Family Resource Centers are offering Circle of Security to parents of very young children. The Strengthening Multiethnic Families and Communities model is offered for parents of older children.
5. Integration of Behavioral Health into Primary Care settings. Innovation in this area has been supported through several state initiatives at the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Department of Health (DOH) and by LAUNCH funds in both local projects. OMH has a co-location grant that funds primary care practices to house mental health services within their setting; and Project TEACH (Training and Education for the Advancement of Children's Health) is a telemedicine approach to providing psychiatric consults to primary care practitioners in the field. DOH is formulating guidance on the Patient Center Medical Home to better coordinate and integrate services for patients enrolled in New York Medicaid. LAUNCH funds are used at the local sites to pay for early childhood mental health consultation in hospital and clinic settings, and to provide training and technical assistance to doctors and mental health specialists on identification and intervention options for children from infancy on and for their parents.
Who is working on Project LAUNCH?
Project LAUNCH is coordinated on the state level by the State Council on Children and Families under the auspices of the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) and the ECAC's Promoting Healthy Development Work Group and with support from several state agencies (Office of Mental Health, Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services) as well as affiliations with the New York State Home Visiting Coalition and the New York State Parenting Education Partnership.
In Westchester County the project is led by the Open Door Family Medical Centers. Local partner organizations include Family Ties of Westchester County (parenting education and support), Andrus Children’s Services (Healthy Families – New York home visiting in Yonkers), Westchester Jewish Community Services (workforce development), and Westchester Institute of Human Development (evaluation). Young Child Wellness Council Members represent many additional organizations working to improve childhood wellness in the target communities and county-wide.
In New York City, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is collaborating with these principal partners: New York Center for Child Development (developmental assessments/screenings, integration of behavioral health in primary care, mental health consultation in day care/schools and home visiting programs, and training/workforce development), Mental Health Association of New York City (family support and education) and the National Center for Children in Poverty (program evaluation). They also have developed a dynamic Young Child Wellness Council with over XX community partners, organizations and parent representatives working to influence the direction of New York City Project LAUNCH.