New and Stronger Community Partnerships Produce Greater Program ImpactHighlight 4 Stronger Community Partnerships

Greater coordination and collaboration across systems of care allow more families to be served and to be connected to appropriate supports.

Why is this important?


Creating strategic partnerships with community organizations extends the reach and sustainability of F5AC programming:



Result 1

Coordinated enrollment into home-based family support services for newborns and families


Many organizations that offer home-based family support services within Alameda County are limited to who they can serve based on family income eligibility, target population characteristics, geographic focus, or existing organizational competencies.  Investments in triage services to link families to the most appropriate programs ensured that programs did not provide duplicate services; that fewer children fell through the cracks; and more programs were functioning at capacity. Triaging also helped identify gaps in services for planning efforts.

Detail 1: More Families Receiving Appropriate Home-Visiting Services [more]

F5AC Hospital Outreach Coordinators (HOCs) stationed at Alta Bates and Alameda County Medical Center (Highland) Hospitals enrolled 1,805 high-risk pregnant and postpartum women in various community and County family support home visiting programs. An additional 533 families were enrolled into programs in Contra Costa County.


Programs in which families were enrolled by HOCs:


Number of Enrollments

Alameda County Public Health Nursing


Alameda County Your Family Counts


Alameda County Black Infant Health and Improving Pregnancy Outcomes Program


Pregnant and Parenting Teen Services


City of Berkeley Public Health Nursing


Alameda County and Children’s Hospital Special Start Services


Alameda County Madre Program for families with infant/fetal loss


Contra Costa



As part of the effort to coordinate the enrollment process, a Countywide Home Visit Matrix Tool was developed and utilized to ensure families are matched with the appropriate case management program.

Result 2

Implementation of the countywide children’s Screening Assessment, Referral and Treatment (SART) program


While pediatricians and early care and education providers have been identifying developmental or social-emotional concerns in young children through their daily interactions, they may not know where to refer a child, or have the time to provide the level of support needed to link families to additional services.


The Alameda County Children’s SART was developed to provide the “glue” needed to link together various systems that serve children so that children who need additional support do not fall through the cracks.  SART funds a telephone Linkage Line and family navigation services to support families with children identified with developmental concerns. The SART Linkage Line offers parents and providers general child development consultation and referrals, as well as connections to appropriate supports available through partnering community programs.

Provider Voice:

“Joseph is a 2 1/2 year old with severe developmental disabilities. Joseph's physician tried for a year to get the family to agree to Early Start Services, or to referrals for specialty medical services, but they refused.  The family had a very negative experience with service systems in the past. After talking with the SART Linkage Line who “really listened,” and acknowledged the father’s concerns, the father agreed to SART services.  The family navigator helped the family fill out forms, attended evaluations and appointments, and offered support. Joseph is now in Early Start, the family is getting some income support and counseling on parenting, and Joseph will begin Head Start in the fall. Most importantly, the parents are more knowledgeable and empowered to work with the system.” 







Detail 1: Screening, Assessment, Referral and Treatment Linkages Began [more]

SART promoted universal screening using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) at pediatric and early care and education (ECE) sites. Child Development Specialists and an Early Childhood consultant offered site-based trainings to providers on available referral pathways for families with children who screen “of concern”. 

  • 23 pediatric sites implemented the universal child development screenings at 18-month well child visits. 55 early care and education classroom teachers were trained in screening with ASQ and ASQ-SE.

From its launch in October 2009 through June 2010, the Linkage Line fielded almost 350 calls.


SART Services

Number Served

Calls to Linkage Line from Pediatric and ECE providers for general information and guidance





Calls to Linkage Line for families with children who have development/social-emotional concerns

      from Pediatric providers

      from ECE providers







Families connected to family navigation services



Families linked to additional assessment services to determine correct referrals to treatment services





Families connected to available supports in their community





SART is beginning to systematically:

  1. Identify provider training needs and systems barriers for universal developmental screening
  2. Create new or enhanced collaborations and facilitate service coordination
  3. Reduce service duplication
  4. Identify service gaps and community assets
  5. Improve families’ experiences accessing needed supports

Result 3

Opportunities to promote best practices and provider networking


Networking opportunities help providers stay up-to-date on community resources, gain knowledge about tools to use when working with families and benefit from peer support.  The ability to share knowledge reduces the amount of time providers spend seeking support on their own.

Detail 1: Providers Networking To Share Lessons and Resources [more]

Peer case consultations and networking sessions offered community grantees a chance to connect with one another, and share experiences, lessons learned, and resources.

 “The networking support has been invaluable… we can [now] establish a comprehensive resource network that can effectively address the complex issues faced by [the families we serve.]”

Community Grantee

Detail 2: Understanding Best Family Navigation Practices [more]

SART Family navigators from various agencies meet regularly to learn about the most effective ways to support children and families. Family navigators offer an extra layer of support to families who need assistance in navigating complex and confusing service systems.  They also build families’ capacity to support their child. The networking sessions:

  • Increased understanding of the needs and barriers children and families face
  • Resulted in the development of family navigation protocols that are informed by the best thinking on quality supports for families

Detail 3: A Forum for Supporting ASQ Trainers [more]

The Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) and ASQ-Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE) Roundtable provided a forum for individuals who train others on using the tools to discuss issues arising from training providers, such as:

  • Best practices in training delivery
  • Consistent messaging about developmental screening
  • How to offer peer support
  • Troubleshooting issues related to scoring the results
  • Talking to parents about results
  • Appropriate follow-up and referrals

Result 4

Fiscal leveraging and policy changes to support sustainability of F5AC programs


Community  funders that support families partnered with F5AC to sustain positive impact on child well-being through coordinated, long term financial commitments.

Detail 1: Long Foundation Grant for SPK [more]

F5AC received a multi-year grant from the Long Foundation to expand the Summer Pre-Kindergarten program to 10 additional school sites based on strong results showing children who attended a F5AC Summer Pre-Kindergarten program demonstrated readiness skills comparable to children who had attended pre-school programs.

Detail 2: ECE Facilities Development [more]

Success in early care and education (ECE) facilities and capital improvement projects managed by Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) allowed ECE programs to leverage additional financing to build two new sites in the San Leandro BART station vicinity. 

  • LIIF secured a planning grant from the City of San Leandro to study the feasibility of building ECE sites at the BART station.  The City has since committed Community Development Block Grant funds to complete the project
  • The site developer committed to fund the project using New Market Tax Credits
  • Alba Witkin Foundation also awarded a $25,000 grant to the project

Detail 3: Sustaining Funding for Universal Developmental Screening through Policy [more]

Both SART and Project LAUNCH dedicated resources to identify policy solutions that make universal developmental screening financially viable long term.  F5AC is working with state agencies to identify funding strategies for developmental and social emotional screening, for mental health consultation at child care sites and for expanded home visiting services.

Detail 4: Financial Support at Federal, State and County Levels [more]

Additional financial support at the federal, state and county levels allowed F5AC to jumpstart many system-wide initiatives that promote child well-being.


Congressman Pete Stark identified funding opportunities through the federal appropriations process to:

  • Fund cohort models that support early care and education providers studying for an AA degree at community colleges
  • Develop a database for a countywide child referral system
  • Fund mental health treatment services for children who have no other payment options


Alameda County Health Care Services Agency leveraged funding through the State CHDP plan to support half the staffing costs for the SART Linkage Line.


The Federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded two multi-year grants (Project LAUNCH and Early Connections) to Alameda County and F5AC. These grants allow Alameda County 0-5 providers to build a family-centered, early childhood mental health system of care and to pilot neighborhood-based strategies for improving community networks that serve children 0 – 8 years that will inform state policy.


State AB212 funding continued to support early care and education providers studying for an AA degree at community colleges

Result 5

Commitment to common outcomes for children and families


Two countywide efforts identify shared outcomes, from which improved efficiencies emerge through agencies working together and sharing resources.

Detail 1: Identifying Common Outcomes [more]

F5AC is an active partner in two county-wide efforts, Building Blocks and the 0-8 Convergence projects, to support “…the well-being of our children, starting from the earliest stages of life.”  One of the goals is to identify measurements of child and family well-being that can be shared by all programs that offer perinatal and family support services. Defining shared outcomes will help the county determine where the gaps in services lie and identify where opportunities for shared resources exist.

Coordinated enrollment into home-based family support services for newborns and families
Implementation of the countywide children’s Screening Assessment, Referral and Treatment (SART) program
Opportunities to promote best practices and provider networking
Fiscal leveraging and policy changes to support sustainability of F5AC programs
Commitment to common outcomes for children and families

This Annual Report's Main Sections: