Did you catch us on WDIV Local 4: Live in the D? Starfish media stars Kecia Rorie (Deputy Director, Thrive by Five), Sherry Rowe (Head Start teacher, Covenant House), and Lance Reed (Education, Curriculum and Disability Manager Birth to Five Program) made an appearance to talk more about Thrive by Five. They even showed host Tati Amare how parents can make Play-Doh at home and how they can help their children develop fine motor skills. Our community kids are definitely getting a head start on life at Thrive by Five Detroit!
WDIV Local 4 recently featured our very own Lance Reed (Education, Curriculum and Disability Manager Birth to Five Program) on their What’s the Buzz segment. With kids about to head back to school, the topic appropriately was: “How Do You Get Into the School Spirit?”
The burning question: What is the biggest mistake that parents make when it comes to their kids on the first day of school? According to Lance, “In early childhood development schools, we often see separation anxiety with not only the children, but the parents as well. The biggest mistake we see is the parents staying around too long. Drop the kids off so that we can begin to build that bond and build that safety net so that they can start to trust us.”
WDIV Local 4 aired a special segment on July 22, 2018, about the amazing partnership between Beaumont Health and Starfish Family Services and how it has been a benefit to new mothers in the community. Sandra Ali, who was the emcee at Starfish’s Great Hearts Gala in May, spoke with the family featured during the event presentation.
The program pairs new mothers with Infant Mental Health Therapists to guide and support them through motherhood. Watch the video below:
INKSTER, MICH. (July 10, 2018) — Starfish Family Services (Starfish) is pleased to announce it has received a $50,000 grant from the GCH Heritage Foundation. The grant will specifically support Starfish’s early childhood programs with a multidisciplinary approach designed to address unmet developmental delays in children throughout Wayne County. In 2016, the GCH Heritage Foundation awarded Starfish a $65,000 grant to assist in the startup of this essential community service.
Early intervention for children with mild to moderate developmental delays is vital. If ignored, even the mildest delay may progress into more extensive and serious problems. Unfortunately, many children from families with limited resources “fall through the cracks” because their issues are not severe enough for insurance companies or school systems to cover assessment and treatment costs.
“It is our desire to support these families, and for every child to have a success story,” said Ann Kalass, Starfish Chief Executive Officer. “The first five years of a child’s life are critical due to rapid brain growth. If early delays are left untreated, a child is at risk for falling even further behind.”
Starfish early intervention team members represent multiple disciplines, including mental health therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and teachers. The team works in tandem to conduct a comprehensive developmental and behavioral assessment and to develop a customized plan of action for each child. Starfish team members also work in close collaboration with parents and caregivers to provide ongoing consultations and interactive parent and child group opportunities. The goal is to ensure that the entire family has the tools to help a child to thrive.
“The initial results have demonstrated the tremendous opportunities this program provides to address some critical needs of children in our community and the Foundation was very pleased to provide this grant to help continue its worthy mission,” said Gary Ley, Executive Director of the GCH Heritage Foundation. “Starfish has an outstanding track record of providing comprehensive, quality family health services that give young children a chance for a healthier start in life,” continued Ley. “We are excited to support this creative program.”
About Starfish Family Services: Founded in 1963, Starfish Family Services (Starfish) is a private, nonprofit human service agency, recognized as a champion for at-risk families in metropolitan Detroit. Serving over 2,000 children and their families daily, our mission is to strengthen families to create brighter futures for children. We provide high-quality programs and support services that focus on early childhood development, mental health wellness, and empowering parents. Through our family-centric, integrated approach, we supply access to the right resources at the right time so that our community clients transition from crisis to self-sufficiency and long-term success. For more information, contact Marketing & Communication Manager Kelle Sisung at firstname.lastname@example.org See also: www.starfishonline.org.
About GCH Heritage Foundation: The GCH Heritage Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation, committed to building healthier communities through philanthropic efforts. Our focus is on inspiring new and creative methods of providing healthcare and social services, with an emphasis on programs for children under 18 years of age. The Foundation was originally a subsidiary of Garden City Hospital, but became independent and repurposed itself after the hospital was sold to a for-profit entity. Proceeds from the sale created the initial capital funding for the Foundation and members of the community continue their long-standing financial support. For more information, contact Executive Director Gary Ley, email@example.com
By SHERRI WELCH
- Nonprofit is defining, standardizing its early child care service model
- Model integrates behavioral health, trauma-informed approach to more holistically serve children
- Effort could set the stage for other early child-care providers to replicate model
Starfish Family Services is working on a “playbook” to enable other child-care providers to replicate its service model, which combines early childhood education with behavioral health, parent support and an approach that takes into account traumatic experiences and their effects on behavior.
To do that, the nonprofit first is working to define and standardize the model within its own operations. Traumas, such as the loss of a parent, an unsafe living environment or family member addicted to drugs or alcohol often get in the way of children’s learning, healthy development and growth, said Starfish CEO Ann Kalass.
“We’re trying to reframe our work with children from ‘why is this child bad?’ … throwing a temper tantrum or acting out, to (asking) what happened to this child that makes him or her act that way and bringing that lens to how we work with kids,” she said.
Starfish provides early childhood education to low-income children in Wayne County, behavioral health services and programs to support parents and families.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation provided a $250,000 grant to fund Starfish’s yearlong standardization effort.
With the Starfish service model, therapists visit families at home to assess what’s going on there and what the families’ needs are. Then they work to connect them to services that can help meet those needs.
Starfish also focuses on the parents’ mental health, their relationship with their child — from prenatal to age 8 — and the child’s development.
The group also embedded behavioral health consultants at all of its early childhood centers and is training its staff and consulting with parents to help them understand how to support children who have been traumatized.
The model is showing promising outcomes, Kalass said. She added that about 79 percent of the 4-year-old children in Starfish’s seven early education centers in western Wayne County were ready to enter kindergarten in the fall of 2017.
“We have been unable to find a contrasting number for the state or Southeast Michigan,” she said. “(But) that’s all the more impressive because … we are serving some of the children facing higher risk, (such as) poverty, developmental disabilities and homelessness.”
Replicating the model is a goal in Starfish’s three-year strategic plan.
The agency is always exploring alternative business models to ensure its programs are sustainable and well-funded, but it hasn’t yet decided about whether it will license its program to others, Kalass said.
Inkster-based Starfish has linked behavioral health to early childhood programs for more than a decade. Two years ago, it committed to universal trauma screening, as well.
While the Inkster-based nonprofit employs the integrated and trauma-focused approach at its early childhood centers, it’s looking to standardize and strengthen it at those locations, Kalass said.
It’s also working toward bringing the trauma-centered approach to the Thrive By Five collaborative’s 16 centers across the city, something that interests other member agencies, including Focus: Hope, Order of the Fisherman Head Start Ministries, American Indian Health and Family Services and Development Centers, she said.
Starfish, which is operating on a $40 million budget, has taken on direct service at four of the Detroit early childhood centers in the collaborative. Southwest Solutions, which ceased offering early childhood services last fall over funding issues, previously operated those sites.
Other centers Southwest operated are now under the management of the other collaborative partners as part of the closure of some centers and opening of others, Kalass said.