Collective Impact and Home Visitation in Georgia

This is a Guest Blog by Andrea Irvin, Director – Education/Community Engagement, United Way of Greater Atlanta

Those who work with children and families know that no single organization or entity can create long-lasting social change alone. The idea of collective impact’ revolves around this premise. It addresses the idea that the many small light bulbs equal big onepurposeful, long-term, cross-sector of committed non-profit, community, business and government organizations working together on a clearly defined goal are far more likely  to create lasting solutions to social problems than they could individually.

Key partners involved in funding Parents as Teachers and other home visitation programs around the Greater Atlanta area recognized that collective impact was needed to align efforts for Home Visitation throughout the state of Georgia.

United Way of Greater Atlanta established system-level partnerships with the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF), Georgia’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), and Voices for Georgia’s Children to align priorities, technical assistance and funding streams to better serve our most vulnerable families and children.

With an aim to shift from isolated impact to collective impact with continuous communication, a shared vision and engagement in mutually reinforcing activities to promote home visitation, early education and family support, these partners are setting the stage for funding allocations that will support long-term sustainability of home visiting in Georgia.

Examples include:

  • United Way of Greater Atlanta played a central role in advocating for dollars through the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) to be used for increasing access and expanding the quality of home visitation programs.
  • Georgia’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) was authorized by AHCA and provides an opportunity for collaboration and partnership at the federal, state, and community level to improve health and development outcomes for at-risk children through evidence-based home visiting programs in Georgia such as Parent as Teachers, SafeCare, and Nurse Family Partnership.
  • The Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF) has adopted home visitation as a key strategy in its statewide mission to fund and support community-based projects that develop integrated and comprehensive approaches to improve child and family well-being.
  • Voices for Georgia’s Children, a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization, has established the following priorities to educate the public and elected officials about effective polices in the following areas which are having a positive impact on replicating and sustaining early education and home visitation programs:
    > Expanding and improving Georgia’s Pre-K program and childcare services
    > Effective home visiting initiatives
    > Adequate funding for children’s services, including newborn and young child health and developmental screenings
    > Policies that help children stay in schools and complete their Pre-K through 12 education
  • Great Start Georgia is a result of the statewide leadership team focusing on supporting children and families through a comprehensive approach. Still in its early stages, it’s the state of Georgia’s attempt to streamline services provided for families with children age birth to 5.

Note by the editor: United Way of Greater Atlanta is sponsoring the 2013 Parents as Teachers Conference, a professional development and growth opportunity for home visiting professionals working with families of young children. The conference is being hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 2-4, 2013 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.