Strategy: Place-Based Initiatives
Why This Matters:
Place matters. All too often, zip codes determine a variety of health and economic outcomes, no matter what else is happening in a child’s and family’s life. For example, in Alameda County there are a fair number of neighborhoods with high crime rates, insufficient access to services, poor transportation, and under-funded schools—all factors that may have a negative impact on child and family outcomes. Additionally, a coordinated system of the right combination of early childhood programs and services (e.g. continuum of care for children and families) does not typically exist within a particular neighborhood. Often early childhood services are scattered across large geographic areas in Alameda County, which creates an added challenge for families with limited transportation options and time to travel. For example, in the Castlemont Corridor neighborhood of East Oakland, there are no Head Start programs, child care centers, or summer Pre-K programs.
Developing neighborhood early childhood hubs provide families with a continuum of early childhood programs and services. These hubs are a place where families with young children have access to a variety of parent and child activities, and provide opportunities for our County Agencies and CBOs to develop smooth transitions for families as they move in and out of programs and services (e.g. “warm hand offs”). Many of the programs and activities offered through these neighborhood hubs are also designed to increase social networks/connections and family engagement.
What We Are Doing:
In partnership with Youth Uprising and Lotus Bloom Child and Family Resource Center, we have created a space for early childhood programing in the Castlemont neighborhood of East Oakland called Room to Bloom. The space includes: a beautiful play and learn room for young children, a room for family gatherings and education, as well as office space for Room to Bloom and partnering agency staff.
We have served over eighty families at Room to Bloom since we began in September 2013 and have partnered with several agencies to deliver a variety of programs there such as the Alameda County Public Health Department’s Boot Camp for New Dads, the Youth Uprising Teen Parent Education class, Parent Cafes and the Oakland Unified School District school readiness program.
First 5 Alameda County Programs Supporting this Strategy:
(Website in development)