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Strategic Focus Areas

Foundation for Success: Healthy Social & Emotional Development in Early Childhood

Importance of Early Brain Development
Growing up healthy is a package -- physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development support each other. Foundation for Success GraphicDuring the early years when the architecture of the brain is being formed, a lag in social and emotional development can have profound and lasting effects on a child's future.

Our Approaches

  • Universal screening for young children's social emotional development from birth to age five and for maternal depression
  • Access to timely and appropriate services when needed, including professional readiness for work with young children's social and emotional development

Supporting Success in Life
Together, these changes in medical and mental health care and early childhood programs can prevent social and emotional issues in early childhood from growing into bigger problems later -- problems such as failure in school, substance abuse, or violent behavior that damage society and rob children of their potential.

Recent Work
The Fund is continuing work on developing systematic, universal social and emotional health screenings for Kansas children six and under. With the mounting evidence of the critical importance of early brain development, combined with the availability of new interventions to address child behavioral issues and family functioning, the long-term benefits of catching behavioral issues early are clear.

Twelve coalitions working in regional areas covering much of western Kansas have provided thousands of screenings for children, using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social Emotional (ASQ:SE) and several coalition projects have also successfully promoted the Edinburgh Depression screening for prospective and newly-delivered mothers.

Mental health centers and other providers have significantly improved their capacity to do work with very young children through trainings and awareness developed through these coalitions.