Investing in Early Childhood
Access to high-quality early childhood education and child care are critical for children and their families, research has shown it contributes to their development and opportunities for academic support and success.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Kresge Foundation recently made a major announcement of an initiative to support investments in early childhood.
The two foundations are committing $50 million through Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership to specifically address equity issues facing Detroit children, especially in early childhood education and child care. We’re getting a look at a snapshot of the challenges facing Detroit children through the initiative’s recently released framework.
A few of the challenges shared in the framework include:
More than 60 percent of Detroit children, ages 0 to 5 years old, live in poverty which is higher than in any of the 50 large U.S. cities
90 percent of a child’s brain has formed by age 5 and for those living in poverty they may experience challenges that could compromise this development such as homelessness, hunger or health issues
86.5 percent of Detroit third graders are not reading at grade level
Nearly 30,000 of Detroit’s eligible young children have no high quality early learning or child care options
The average child care cost for one child in Michigan is $10,178 which is more than the median annual cost of rent. Making child care more accessible can eliminate barriers to workforce participation and provide children with high-quality care.
The child care subsidies in Michigan are only available for families living below 130 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $24,600 for a family of four
An additional 23,000 licensed child care openings are needed to ensure access to high quality child care
The two foundations shared that Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership is the outcome of a year of community planning and engagement involving more than 18,000 Detroiters which developed a framework to address these challenges by guiding civic and private leaders with 15 strategies for action over the next decade. These strategies include work around creating a stronger connection between early childhood, health and education; and improving early childhood services.
Highlights of the strategies include:
Support the first 1,000 days by prioritizing healthy pregnancies, breastfeeding, term births, food access and good nutrition to ensure babies are born healthy and are on track developmentally
Make the processes, programs, and systems that support young children and their families easier to use so they better meet families’ needs
Build a team of family advocates and community champions to promote early childhood
Develop common standards for early childhood programs and professionals, and support them with professional development opportunities
Align key components of the early childhood and K-3 systems to ensure children are ready for kindergarten
“We joined forces because we believed that Detroit could emerge as a leader in creative investments to strengthen children’s futures,” La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, WKKF and Rip Rapson, president and CEO, The Kresge Foundation shared. “And we recognized that our two organizations could play a pivotal role in that process.”
WKKF and The Kresge Foundation are also both members of Head Start Innovation Fund, which is supported by 10 CMF member foundations. The Innovation Fund supports 9,000 young children and their families enrolled in local Head Start agencies in Detroit, Wayne County, Oakland County, and Macomb County
Promising Action for Secondary Education
More communities in Michigan can now offer place-based Promise scholarships to create pathways to college for students. Promise programs “promise” funding for college for students based on where they live or go to school, not their socioeconomic background.
As Michigan Radio reports, Governor Rick Snyder signed the Michigan Promise Zones legislation into law earlier this month, expanding the number of communities to offer these programs from 10 to 15. Flint is among the new promise zones.
CMF reported in July how the National College Access Network (NCAN), of which Michigan College Access Network is a member, released a white paper highlighting place-based Promise scholarships as a successful strategy that can engage students in middle school and earlier to create connections to a pathway to college.
According to NCAN, the Promise model has increased college attainment from 36 to 48 percent. The return on investment for scholarship dollars is estimated to be 11.3 percent.
The Challenge Scholars program is a Promise scholarship, led by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, that offers scholarships to cover tuition and fees for two or four years of college tuition for students graduating from Union High School, a Grand Rapids Public School.
The Kalamazoo Promise, which has served as a model for programs around the country since it began in 2004, has led to a 24 percent increase in enrollment in the Kalamazoo public schools and construction on the first new schools to be opened in the city in 40 years
The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a CMF member based in Kalamazoo, has closely tracked the impact of the Kalamazoo Promise since its inception, launching extensive research and education about the impact of the Promise program model around the country.
Aligning with that work, the institute recently launched a new Promise Database to make it easy to get information and compare place-based scholarship programs throughout Michigan and across the nation.
Through a quick Michigan search, the database provides highlights of 16 Promise programs in operation across the state showing how they operate and details on the benefits.
The institute provides Promise scholarship research and resources that may help inform and guide the development of Promise scholarship initiatives for other communities.
The institute states that while Promise programs may vary they are all rooted in at least one or more of these goals:
Catalyze improvements in the pre-K-12th grade system
Improve students’ postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and degree attainment
Stimulate economic and community development
“These programs are designed to reduce the cost of higher education for a large segment of a community’s young people, thereby transforming not just the lives of these individuals but also the places in which they live and the school districts they attend,” the institute shared.
This national map of Promise programs shows Michigan is leading the way with this model with the largest concentration. With the recent expansion, Michigan’s lead will continue to grow.
Addressing Mental Health in Our Criminal Justice System
Our state is developing a strategic plan to effectively treat people with serious mental health illnesses who may otherwise be routed through our criminal justice system.
Governor Rick Snyder’s Mental Health Diversion Council and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently wrapped up a two-day Mental Health and Criminal Justice Summit with stakeholders from around the state to address the issue and consider next steps.
The latest numbers available that The Detroit Free Press shared shows that about 23 percent of Michigan’s state prison inmates and 64 percent of county jail inmates have mental health illnesses.
"Interventions to decrease the proportion of people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders from jail are critical,” Dr. Debra Pinals, MDHHS medical director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs said. “Treatment and support for these individuals is necessary and best when offered within our community service system. We know that we need our partners in the justice system and the courts to make this happen in order to balance appropriate public safety factors as needed.”
Michigan is working to align with The Stepping Up Initiative, a national program focused on reducing the number of people who have serious mental health illnesses from our jails and prisons and connecting them with the appropriate treatment.
The Stepping Up Initiative shares national data on how this issue is affecting our communities:
Nationally there’s an estimated 2 million people who have serious mental health illnesses that are sent to jails
From a recidivism perspective, people who have serious mental health illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and have a higher risk of returning than those who don’t have mental health illnesses
Jails spend two to three times more money on adults with mental health illnesses than those without
The program shares, “Without change, large numbers of people with mental illnesses will continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in tragic outcomes for these individuals and their families, missed opportunities for connections to treatment, inefficient use of funding, and a failure to improve public safety.”
Michigan has been working in this area through efforts with the governor’s Mental Health Diversion Council. The council has been funding pilots throughout the state to implement innovative practices to try and divert people who have serious mental health illnesses from our criminal justice system.
The pilots recently released an update on work underway and one notable data point was the proportion of individuals with a serious mental health illness entering jails decreased from 24 percent to 18 percent in one year because they were instead routed to appropriate resources and treatment.
Recommendations have emerged from the report, which include:
Establish county-wide advisory boards in all counties. These boards would be charged with addressing issues for individuals with mental health concerns that cut across the legal, public safety, health and mental health systems.
Continue and expand crisis intervention team (CIT) training. Train other law enforcement personnel such as parole/probation officers that would help them de-escalate situations.
Provide education about confidentiality. Develop an understanding and accompanying training of what health information is protected by HIPAA and how information can and should be shared with law enforcement.
Develop drop-off centers. Develop alternatives to jail for misdemeanor and/or ordinance offenses in order to divert individuals with serious mental health issues that have minor infractions to treatment or supportive services instead of jail.
Enhance continuity of care. Increase attention to the jail discharge and community reentry process to help prevent minor offending and probation violations and increase functionality as best practices research indicates that more than jail-based services, interventions that pro-actively link individuals to community services upon jail release have proven effectiveness.
There’s more work ahead for Michigan to refine and implement improvements to our mental health system to ensure those who have illnesses are directed to the appropriate resources and treatment. Funding for mental health services may also undergo changes as the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still uncertain as mental health coverage is an essential health benefit (EHB) therefore funded through Medicaid and other insurance programs. Changes to the ACA could limit mental health services coverage.
Hudson-Webber Foundation announces new funding strategies, including support for research and policy
Content excerpted from a foundation press release. Read the full release here.
The Hudson-Webber Foundation recently announced a change in approach to its philanthropic investments in Detroit.
Under a new strategy, the foundation will focus investments on organizations, programs and initiatives that help achieve sustainable, broad-based prosperity in the city. The strategy centers around creating access and opportunities for residents to attain quality jobs, housing, and safe, thriving neighborhoods.
Aligning with this new approach, the foundation announced four reframed mission areas in which it will focus its activities and investment including: community and economic development; built environment; arts and culture; and safe and just communities.
Across these mission areas, the foundation will engage in policy and research activities.
“The addition of policy and research activities to support our mission areas acknowledges that achieving the desired pace and magnitude of community change, whether in criminal justice, economic development, housing affordability, or even the arts, often requires systemic or structural changes that can only be brought about through policy decisions,” Melanca Clark, president and CEO, the Hudson-Webber Foundation said.
Clark said that addressing structural barriers to opportunity for people of color will be a high priority for the foundation’s investments.
Within the last year the foundation began making grants that align with its future direction in funding strategies, a few highlights include:
Community and Economic Development: Develop Detroit, Inc. is receiving $1 million to support affordable and mixed-income housing development in targeted Detroit neighborhoods.
Safe and Just Communities: The Wayne State University is receiving $45,000 to support the Detroit Police Department’s operation of the Ceasefire program to reduce violence in Detroit neighborhoods in partnership with the City of Detroit.
Policy and Research: The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is receiving $20,000 to develop economic policy research and solutions tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities in historically marginalized communities, including hosting a roundtable of Midwest political leadership in Detroit.