Check out this video by the Coos Coalition!
The Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families and its leadership partners developed the Raising Strong Families initiative. The vision for Raising Strong Families is to develop a family center support team that can engage and coordinate multiple services at the same time. This can help promote better communication and understanding of your family's challenges, values, and goals.
Phoebe Backler, a Senior Program Officer with the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund (NLTF) of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, serves as a liaison between NLTF and Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families partners. NLTF is a long-term Coalition funder.
By joining the Coalition’s Coos Early Childhood Systems planning process and ongoing Coalition Leadership Team meetings over the past two years, Phoebe has gained a deeper understanding of the partners’ collective action work. This closer relationship has helped Phoebe and her colleagues at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation find ways to align grantmaking, training opportunities, policy advocacy support, and coordination with other statewide funders to better serve the Coalition partner’s work. NLTF is committed to an ongoing partnership with the Coos Coalition partners and their mission to support the optimal well-being of every child and family in the region.
What happens when a state cannot utilize their Medicaid funding to support screenings for maternal depression? In Coös County, New Hampshire, a coalition of early childhood organizations got creative to make sure that their families were receiving the mental health services they needed. Coös County is New Hampshire’s northernmost county. Sharing a border with Maine, Vermont and Canada, Coös is recognized as New Hampshire’s largest county, yet it has historically been home to the fewest number of residents compared to the state’s other nine regions. Living in one of the most rural areas in New Hampshire, residents of Coös County experience higher rates of poverty than residents of other counties. Of these residents, roughly 1,200 are under the age of 6. Realizing the strong link between maternal health and a child’s health, the Coös Coalition for Young Children and Families saw an opportunity to improve services and systems for children and families in their community.
By Us and For Us: A Story of Early Childhood Development Systems Change and Results in a Rural Context
Coös is New Hampshire’s largest and most rural county, bordering Canada, Maine, and Vermont. Coös has many assets, including a long-standing tradition of civic engagement that crosses socio-economic lines, beautiful natural resources, and a once-vibrant, woods-based economy. Until dairy farm and mill closures caused by the decline of the paper industry in the 1990s, generations of farmers, educators, loggers, and mill workers lived and stayed in Coös, building prosperous communities and a strong social fabric. Today the region faces challenges stemming from decades of economic decline, resulting in significant job loss and out-migration of youth. An aging demographic, high rates of substance use and domestic violence, and inadequate public funding for education also challenge the region. Median family income is 30 percent lower than the state average and one in five Coös children lives in poverty; the county suffers high unemployment (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014) and only 18 percent of adults have a college degree, compared to 35 percent statewide (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). And Coös, like all counties in New Hampshire, faces public funding constraints owing to the state’s limited tax base.