Supporting Vermont's Early Childhood System through Quality Improvement

Healthy and positive child development occurs best in the context of nurturing and responsive early parent/caregiver relationships when children are surrounded by safe communities with strong trust and social connection. This project fosters approaches that support early relational health so that Vermont’s children have a strong foundation for lifelong growth and development. 
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Goals &

The goal of our work is to support early relationships between parents and children, while also focusing on the relationship between early childhood professionals and the families they serve. These approaches assure that Vermont’s children have the opportunity to thrive.  After decades of work done in Vermont to align and advance developmental surveillance and screening efforts across health and early childhood settings, our current focus is on supporting and fostering expansion of three approaches that promote early relational health.

  • Touchpoints is an evidence-based approach that supports strong parent-child relationships from before birth through age 5. The Touchpoints approach is a strengths-based mindset that family-facing professionals use to engage with families during critical and challenging periods of child and family development. It is a way for professionals to learn the rhythm of the families they are supporting so that we can work alongside them and mirror the families’ own strengths and resources when the family is working through the developmental process.  VCHIP provides the infrastructure for Vermont Touchpoints, which trains professionals in the early childhood sector on the Touchpoints approach.
  • Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone (DULCE) is an evidence-based approach that proactively addresses health-related social needs, promotes the healthy development of infants, and provides support to their families based in the pediatric health care setting during the first six months of life.
  • Help Me Grow Vermont (HMG VT) links families to services and provides ongoing support to optimize children’s health and well-being.  VCHIP works with medical professionals to help increase awareness of HMG VT and its services and facilitate connection of families to this resource.
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  • We support continuous quality improvement of early childhood initiatives. VCHIP provides both individualized site-specific assistance and organizes cross-site meetings for active DULCE sites to spread innovations, brainstorm opportunities, and strategize data collection tools and processes.
  • Vermont Touchpoints, established in 2022, maintains a committed group of facilitators and provides trainings to professionals from various sectors of the early childhood system across Vermont.
  • VCHIP works closely with HMG VT to identify opportunities to increase recommended developmental screening, including promoting the free use of the online Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) hosted by HMG VT.
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Vermont Touchpoints
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Project Team

Breena Holmes, MD, Lead Faculty

Julianne Krulewitz, Evaluator

Michelle Rovnak, Project Coordinator

Rachel Wallace-Brodeur, Project Director

Jill Davis, Project Director

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