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Accomplishments & Current Initiatives

Formed in 2001 to address what parents and professionals alike perceived as growing numbers of children ‘falling through the cracks,’ the Coalition has a “highlight reel” of community-driven projects to improve child outcomes in Washington County.

Highlights of our initiatives over the past 20 years, include:

  • Five comprehensive, statistical town-by-town reports on our children’s well-being
  • Frequent public data briefings on key issues, e.g. food insecurity, teen dating violence, homelessness, school attendance, youth vaping, foster care, etc.
  • Trained area primary care providers via Collaborative Office Rounds addressing children’s mental health & developmental concerns in collaboration with Brown University & URI
  • Piloted Watch Me Grow RI, the state’s developmental screening program, in child care sites and pediatric offices
  • Developed an intensive professional development training program for local behavioral health providers in adapting CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) strategies for children and youth
  • Implemented the evidence-based Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in local schools
  • Created “Planting the Seeds of Kindness” early childhood bullying prevention curriculum for area preschools and their families.
  • Conducted Holiday Gift Drives for Teens in collaboration with Casey’s Grill & Bar
  • Organized and facilitated Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings for school staff and community members in collaboration with eight school districts, Gateway Healthcare and the South Kingstown Police Department
  • Conducting ‘Feelin’ Groovy’ emotional literacy bookmark curriculum with 2nd grades across Washington County
  • Hosted Chalk It Up Against Bullying events in Wakefield, Westerly, Wickford, Block Island, & Exeter
  • Created ‘Welcome Baby’ packet for South County Hospital prenatal patients to promote maternal/infant mental health & bonding
  • Review and curate recommended children’s book lists on bullying prevention, cultural diversity, and children’s mental health for use in local school and public libraries

Coalition Initiatives/Projects currently underway

  • The Greatest 8™ with URI & Brown University, to support parents/caregivers in instilling 8 core mental health skills (associated with lifelong mental wellness) in their young children ages 0-8. We hope to continue expansion across the state, including translation into Spanish and development of additional educational resources
  • School-Based Tele-Behavioral Health (BH) Services. The Coalition is piloting a tele-BH model utilizing a Community Health Worker to make needed connections for care with students, families, schools, pediatricians, and behavioral health providers that we hope to grow throughout the region
  • Positive & Adverse Childhood Experiences. The Coalition is pursuing a community-based approach to understanding the impact of adverse childhood experiences and the importance of resilience building for better long-term social, educational, and health outcomes. A necessary key would be trauma-informed approach in crisis situations. We have begun training with early childhood educators.
  • Below the Surface. Youth mental health campaign in partnership with the Chariho Youth Task Force and Chris Collins Foundation rolled out in Fall 2022.