800 Participants, Early Childhood Experts Gather at 2018 First 1K Days FL Summit

More than 800 early childhood professionals in home visiting, infant mental health, early learning, and maternal and child health gathered recently in Palm Beach for the 2018 First 1000 Days Florida Summit. The highly-rated conference featured nationally recognized plenary presenters who provided the latest science on parental brain changes, making the minds of young children, the importance of social-emotional development, and early literacy. A luncheon plenary featured the moving perspectives of parents and their experiences in accessing services for themselves and their families. They reminded the audience that parent involvement requires authentic engagement and inclusion in decision-making.

The 2018 summit was sponsored by the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Florida MIECHV and a host of other state and local organizations committed to improving outcomes for families with young children.

Florida Representative Erin Grall (R-Indian River) joined Senator Bobby Powell (D-Riviera Beach) in welcoming participants and underscored the importance of advocacy to support state investments in early childhood programs.

Attendees had an opportunity to participate in more than 40 skill-building workshops on a wide range of topics from pregnancy to infant mental health, child safety and early learning. Workshops focused on providing practical information and strategies to front-line staff, including how to reduce their own stress and compassion fatigue.

In addition to the break-out sessions, the summit featured a Showcase of Best Practices highlighting innovations from the field. Awards winners included – First Place: Little TYKES-Teaching Young Children Emotionally & Socially – Tykes & Teens; Second Place: Promoting Social-Emotional Wellness in Infants & Their Parents Through Welcome to Our World – Forty Carrots Family Center; Third Place: The TEACUP Preemie Program: Maintaining Family Engagement through FirstPlay Infant Storytelling Massage – The Children’s Healing Institute. Health Choice Network’s NFP Program won the People’s Choice Award for its poster on the integration of FQHC and home visiting services. Twenty-six posters were featured in the showcase.

Participants also explored more than 25 vendor exhibits and displays during the three-day conference. The summit also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Early Steps, the state’s part C early intervention program.

A special thank you to all of the 2018 summit sponsors whose support contributed to the caliber and success of the summit. In addition to Marquee Sponsors FL MIECHV and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Gold Sponsors included the FL Department of Health – Family Health Services, Early Steps and Newborn Screening; the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, FL Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, and Florida Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Silver Sponsors included the Charles & Mary Barancik Foundation—First 1000 Days Sarasota; Helios Education Fund; Children’s Services Council of Broward County, and the Quantum Foundation.

Bronze sponsors for the event included United Healthcare; the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade, Kaplan Early Learning, the Center for Child Counseling, the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health; the Ounce of Prevention Fund of FL and the Parent Infant Program—FL School for the Deaf & Blind. Summit supporters included the Association of Early Learning Coalitions and the National Fatherhood Initiative.