Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) is an initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services. Since 2008, state and tribal programs across the country have been supported by SAMHSA to promote the health and well-being of young children from birth to age 8. By increasing coordination, building infrastructure, and increasing access to high-quality programs for young children and their families, Project LAUNCH uses a public health approach to address the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of early childhood development.
The success of Project LAUNCH is based on five core prevention and promotion strategies: screening and assessment in a range of child-serving settings; integration of behavioral health into primary care settings; mental health consultation in early care and education; enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being; and family strengthening and parenting skills training. Because of its strong existing collaborative partnerships among community agencies, Manchester is the pilot community for Project LAUNCH Family Services, Easter Seals Child Development and Family Resource Center, and Southern NH Services (Head Start/Early Head Start) are working together to support young children and their families in direct service settings. Using Project LAUNCH’s five prevention and promotion strategies, these organizations are working to improve the health and wellbeing of Manchester’s children.
The Project LAUNCH Pilot Program, located at the Manchester Community Health Center improves the health and wellness of Manchester young children ages birth to age eight and their parents so that children can better succeed in school and life. The Program offers economically eligible families integration of behavioral health into primary care, an increased number of developmental screenings for children ages birth- 8 years old, provides families with enhanced home visiting services that focuses on parenting skills and children's social-emotional well-being and offers the very popular and research-based parenting class The Incredible Years.
Parenting Skills Education Strategy
Since its initial implementation, Project LAUNCH NH-Manchester has been providing parenting skills education to strengthen parents’ capacity to understand the multi-dimensional needs of their children and effectively manage their children’s behavior. The targeted Outcome of this strategy is that parents of young children will have enhanced parenting skills, resulting in children's increased social competence at home and school and reduced aggression and behavior problems.
Project LAUNCH NH-Manchester has been implementing Positive Solutions for Families in the community since October 2015, after piloting a different curriculum for the previous two years and learning many lessons about the needs, interests, and availability of families to participate in such a program. Lessons were also learned about the costs to train facilitators and purchase materials. PSF was chosen because it is an evidence-based practice originally developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (now an independent nonprofit, Pyramid Model Consortium) with funding support from the Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tenets and components of the program include understanding children’s development and behavior and building relationships among parents and children. PSF classes are offered in 6-week sessions and, thus far, meet the needs of Manchester’s families with young children, based on attendance and completion rates, as well as participation and facilitator feedback. PSF materials are available free of charge in English and Spanish.
Project LAUNCH staff and additional staff from local partner agencies (home visitors, case managers, family workers, community health workers, behavior support specialists) were trained in the use of Positive Solutions for Families on September 10, 2015. Since October 2015, 10 sessions have been provided to 56 parents and impacting 102 children. In fall and winter 2015/2016, the PSF trainer provided regular technical assistance to the Parent Education Facilitators regarding implementation. In March 2016, the trainer returned to NH and trained the Parent Education Facilitators as trainers themselves, in order to train additional providers who would like to offer PSF to families in their agencies and communities and bring this strategy to scale throughout the state.
Replication and Expansion
Consistent with SAMHSA’s expectation that innovative and effective prevention/promotion practices at the local level serve as models to be sustained and replicated throughout the state, Project LAUNCH NH-Manchester is offering the opportunity for professionals in other regions of New Hampshire to receive training in Positive Solutions for Families from Pyramid Model Consortium-trained trainers.
The local project seeks to develop a pool of well-trained facilitators for Positive Solutions for Families from interested applicants throughout New Hampshire. Applicants will be selected based on the prerequisites, geographical location Applicants also agree to provide 2 trainings in their identified communities by June 30, 2017.
In September 2016, training will be provided to professionals from throughout NH with the expectation that they will offer at least two sessions in their respective regions, in an effort to replicate the success of this strategy experienced in Manchester.
Facilitator Prerequisites (Preferred)
Ideally, facilitator applicants will have experience working with children and families in a home visitor, family worker, or parent educator capacity, and/or have previously provided parenting skills education.
• Interest or experience in early childhood mental health and parent education
• Employed within agency 1+ years and no indication of position change or relocation
• Committed to providing training and support to parents in the region
• Openness to new ideas and practices
• Comfort speaking in front of groups and facilitating discussion
• Respected and liked by agency peers and clients
• Attend one full-day Positive Solutions for Families training workshop on September 14, 2016 in Manchester.
• Provide a minimum of three (3) six-week sessions of Positive Solutions for Families in a designated geographic area and/or sector (chosen below) to groups of parents/guardians by June 30, 2017
• Provide aggregate data to Project LAUNCH NH-Manchester regarding enrollment and completion rates and summary evaluation data (no individual or identifiable data will be requested by the project) upon completion of each session.
Project LAUNCH NH-Manchester Responsibilities
• Schedule September 14, 2016 training at no cost to participants, including lunch and refreshments
• Reimburse participants for mileage expenses to attend the September 14 training
• Provide all necessary paperwork for submitting mileage expenses and data collection.
Spark NH, Project LAUNCH NH's Statewide Young Child Wellness Council:
Spark NH is the Governor appointed Early Childhood Advisory Council that seeks to improve statewide early learning systems and it also serves as Project LAUNCH NH’s statewide Young Child Wellness Council. Spark NH’s mission is to promote a comprehensive coordinated early childhood system with a focus on Communication and Public Awareness, Data Systems, Evaluation, Workforce Development, Policy, Program Quality, and Family Partnership/Engagement. Together, both Spark NH and the Project LAUNCH Manchester Pilot Site have overarching goals to advance and sustain early childhood systems in order to advance positive outcomes for young children and families.
For more information about Spark NH contact Laura Milliken or Carol Garhart (603)-226-7900 or visit their website.
Project LAUNCH NH is a grant program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services, Maternal and Child Health Section. For more information about the Project LAUNCH NH grant contact Liz Lawrence, Young Child Wellness Advisor, NH Division of Public Health Services or at 603-279-4667
For more information about the Project LAUNCH Pilot Program contact Lara Quiroga, Pilot Coordinator, Manchester Community Health Center (603)-935-5335 or visit the website