Better integration of children's services benefits everyone
Delivering support services more efficiently & effectively
Everyone benefits when the agencies that support children’s development better coordinate their efforts and address children’s needs more holistically. This is because children’s needs and outcomes are highly ineterconnected. For example, unhealthy children have more difficulty learning and children who struggle to learn have a higher likelihood of relying on social support programs throughout their lives and becoming incarcerated.
For every dollar invested in Head Start, society receives approximately $9 in benefits through increased personal earnings, family stability, and decreased welfare & crime costs.
Supporting Integrated Services for Children in California
Successful models of service integration can be found in the early learning and development (EL&D) field. EL&D integrated service delivery models, such as Early Head Start and First 5 initiatives, combine early learning, health screening and family support services. In providing comprehensive, integrated services and thus better addressing the needs of the whole child, these programs are able to maximize their impact and increase their return on investment. For every dollar invested in Head Start, society receives approximately $9 in benefits through increased personal earnings, family stability, and decreased welfare and crime costs.
In July 2011, 35 school-based health centers (SBHCs) were awarded a total of $14 million in grants for equipment and facilities from the federal government, which translates to more and improved health services for thousands of school-age children. The grants are part of federal health care reform, which for the first time in history includes a dedicated federal funding stream specifically for SBHCs.
California, however, must continue to capitalize on the opportunity to develop better, more integrated models of support services delivery to children, by addressing learning, security, and stability within their homes and communities, and good physical, oral and mental health.