The S.C. Child Well-Being Coalition, a group of local and state agencies, social service organizations, and community leaders committed to supporting evidence-based programs and policies, met in November to discuss the importance of coordinating and improving access to comprehensive health care for children.
Hope Garcia understands the South Carolina Child Well-Being Coalition isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel.
As the co-chair of the coalition’s health workgroup, she and her peers continue to search for workable plans that will increase well-child visits, immunization rates, and mental health screenings.
“The workgroup has such a multidisciplinary team, people from health profession and community members,” said Garcia, the director of women’s and children’s services for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. “We were able to identify many different tactics and even branch out to include other people to help us drive this mission to increase child well-being and health.”
Led by Children’s Trust of South Carolina and funded by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Child Well-Being Coalition is comprised of a broad cross-section of local and state agencies, family-serving organizations and community members committed to working collectively to mitigate the effects of poverty on children in the core areas of health, community, economy, education, and family.
The full coalition held its quarterly meeting in November with a focus on health and a theme of “Harvesting Great Ideas for Child Health and Well-Being.” Included were presentations by Kristine Hobbs, the mental health integration and care coordinator for QTIP (Quality Through Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics) in the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and Eboni Whitehurst, the State Child Fatality Advisory Committee (SCFAC) coordinator in DHEC.
Hobbs discussed the importance of working on quality child care measures and addressing mental health challenges of children in the state. Whitehurst reviewed the 2018 report produced by SCFAC, which has a mission to decrease the incidence of preventable child deaths such as unsafe sleep, drowning and suicide and make the public more aware of opportunities to prevent child deaths.
“It was a great opportunity to show the coalition the issues that we’re seeing, and how we can partner better, create new collaborations to attack some of those issues, especially the ones that have been hanging around for a long time and those ones that are on the rise,” Whitehurst said.
Amy Moseley, Children’s Trust community coalitions manager, said the group of 50 professionals in attendance learned about the promising practices with tangible outcomes through the QTIP program as well as the common themes and areas of concern from SCFAC.
“Both of these initiatives supported the importance of the focus areas of the health workgroup of the Child Well-Being Coalition,” Moseley said.
The coalition, which began in the spring of 2018, continues to have its workgroups meet regularly to discuss and identify the issues where they can create a positive impact on children and families related to health, education and economy in communities across South Carolina.
As the coalition’s work progresses, Moseley noted how encouraged she is to see the workgroups develop concrete step-by-step plans to address issues of child well-being in the state.
“We are intentionally making meaningful connections with state partners who are doing excellent work to build on what we know is working and where the data is already being collected that can best inform our work,” Moseley said.
Dr. Christine Turley, the director of the USC School of Medicine’s Research Center for Transforming Health, serves as the chair of the coalition’s leadership team. She spoke to the bigger picture of tying the work together to alleviate the effects of poverty while improving outcomes and opportunity for all children in the state.
She pointed out common threads that included the special challenges for access to health care in rural communities, the need for children to have family engagement for maintaining health, and the importance of physicians providing collaborative support to ensure quality well child visits.
The leadership meeting following the full meeting focused on engaging more state leaders in the coalition, continuing to invite program partners to present on topics that relate to the current work, and increasing the number of parent and community members in the workgroups. The goal is to add more personal stories and qualitative data, engage non-traditional partners, and create more communication opportunities between meetings.
The next meeting of the full coalition will be held Jan. 29, 2020 at the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center in West Columbia. It is open to new members. For more information on the coalition, contact Amy Moseley at 803-744-4032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.