UCLA EHS Program & Region 9


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It is well known that the first five years of life are so important to children’s development. Head Start and Early Head Start programs are designed to support parents during these critical years. Yet our work cannot be done alone without the support of the parents, community, and fellow Head Start Associations. The R9HSA continuously and promptly responds to the current needs of the Head Start children, families, and staff. Collaborating with the Region 9 Head Start Association has supported and lifted the work that we do on a daily basis. The UCLA Early Head Start program has collaborated in a number of projects that have positively impacted our work with children, families, and staff and as an agency. To highlight a few, I will discuss the home visiting outcomes, the COVID-19 response, public health, and training.

Working with the Region 9 has highlighted Home-Based Early Head Start Outcomes. The R9HSA gave us a platform to highlight home visiting outcomes. As a home-based Early Head Start program, these opportunities are rare. We worked with the R9HSA and other Early Head Start programs on collecting home visiting outcome data. These efforts helped lift the work that our program did as well as other programs in the community. Our staff felt proud of what had been achieved as a collaborative, as a community. The first edition was published in 2019. We hope to continue this work that was abruptly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our collaboration with the R9HSA impacted the work that we do by providing us a platform to highlight family outcomes, including low infant mortality, low incidence of child abuse, and the work programs were doing to reduce the impacts of maternal depression.

Working with the Region 9 has helped us mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the successful response. No one would have been able to predict that COVID-19 would deeply impact our daily lives as well as our professional lives. Immediately the R9HSA responded to the needs of our program and communities to support the staff. Many trainings were provided free of cost on wellness as staff and programs navigated through the uncertainty. The R9HSA became a source of information and a resource with weekly bulletins and webinars designed to respond to the current needs. These actions by the R9HA further solidified its role as a resource to our organization and the Head Start community in general. The R9HSA gave our staff tools to manage stress and tools to promote wellness during this difficult time.

In addition, we worked on the Early Head Start collaborative, which led the way to new ways of sharing information from program to program. The R9HSA has provided a space for programs to come together and share information on successes, challenges, and innovative practices. This has helped the communication among programs and helped us become better at what we do.

Collaborating with R9HSA has helped promote public health. Most recently we worked together on an information campaign with HSC And R9HSA to inform the Head Start community on the COVID-19 vaccine. Families in low-income households were found to be disproportionally impacted by COVD-19. It was imperative that information and access to public health information from reputable sources be provided. At the same time, we were entering a battle with misinformation being spread to families that could potentially impact their health and well-being.

Head Start programs are well trusted by many communities and are in a perfect position to provide information from trusted sources. Our work with the R9HSA helped bring information from trusted sources to families and promote healthy communities

The R9HSA took care of all of the production as we navigated and secured speakers. The informational webinars on the COVID-19 vaccine changed the minds of many on our team who were hesitating to take the vaccine. There were over 500 attendees and the response from the Head Start community was overwhelmingly positive. The support from the R9HSA has been amazing. Through this informational campaign, we were able to inform the Head Start community, the general public, and parents about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Collaborating with the R9HSA has helped our staff grow professionally. The UCLA Early Head Start program has participated in a number of conferences both as a participant and as a workshop facilitator. As a participant, the R9HSA has supported the professional development of the staff. They have creatively put on workshops that have to increase the knowledge and skill of staff. Many of the staff went on to lead trainings. This allowed staff to gain confidence and grow professionally. When our staff grows professionally, they can in turn provide a higher quality of service to children.

Thank you, Region 9, for all that you do for the UCLA EHS program and for what you do for the entire community.

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