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August 14, 2020
Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC), in partnership with the Rapid Response Virtual Home Visiting Collaborative, has launched a webinar series and online learning community that explore the challenges and opportunities family-facing professionals navigate when working with young children and families virtually.
“When the coronavirus pandemic began, family-facing providers in every sector—from early childhood educators to pediatricians to those who work in child welfare—had to quickly pivot to providing services virtually,” said Dr. Joshua Sparrow, BTC’s executive director. “For family-facing professionals accustomed to meeting in classrooms, offices, or homes, switching to text messaging, phone calls, and video-conferencing on mobile phone and tablets has proven challenging, yet has led to some surprising discoveries.”
The webinars build on lessons learned from virtual home visiting programs that began serving families virtually prior to the pandemic, and are offered in three series of six webinars each, beginning July 2020 and running through early 2021. To ensure the webinars meet the fast-moving needs of these field—particularly as states begin to open schools, pediatric offices, and child care centers—the project will employ rapid-cycle testing to inform the design and content of future webinars.
An online learning community, facilitated by BTC trainers and faculty, will include resources, chats, and other supports to help family-facing providers apply the skills they learn in the webinar series. Participation is free and open to everyone, thanks in part to funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation.
BTC’s training and support will position family-facing professionals with the assets and skill sets to provide programming that lends itself to virtual delivery, even after the current crisis abates, resulting in more equitable access to those services for the many families who are not currently served due to geographic and transportation barriers as well as limited publicly funded slots and the higher costs of in-person service delivery.
To ensure the training is accessible to Spanish-speaking providers, each webinar offers live Spanish translation. The online learning community also provides Spanish translation of all content. Additionally, the webinars offer closed-captioning to interested participants.
“Families, children, and providers across the country are facing unprecedented stressors,” Sparrow said. “This project offers providers an opportunity to learn new skills, share strategies with one another, and strengthen the virtual supports they can provide to young children and families at this challenging time, while highlighting the urgent need to bridge the digital divide with equitable access for all.”
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org
About the Overdeck Family Foundation
Overdeck Family Foundation was founded in 2011 by John and Laura Overdeck with the goal of providing all children the opportunity to unlock their potential. The Foundation focuses exclusively on education, funding organizations that seek to open doors for every child in the U.S. by measurably enhancing education both inside and outside the classroom.
The Foundation believes that, in order to succeed, children need access to strong foundations for early learning, exceptional educators, innovative schools, and engaging out-of-school opportunities. It supports organizations and researchers that work toward these goals, helping early-stage initiatives develop and validate their programs and scaling evidence-based growth-stage organizations looking to achieve greater impact. For more information, visit www.overdeck.org