State Conference

800 Participants, Early Childhood Experts Gather at 2018 First 1000 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-Vero Beach) joined Senator Bobby Powell (D-Palm 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.

2018 Certificate of Attendance


2015 First 1000 Days Florida Summit

Nearly 700 participants joined early childhood experts at the First 1000 Days Florida Summit Oct. 21-23, 2015 in Palm Beach to learn about the latest research, build skills and develop an advocacy agenda to improve outcomes for expectant and new families.

Sponsored by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Florida MIECHV and a host of other early childhood organizations, the multi-disciplinary conference focused attention on the importance of investing early during this critical period of brain development.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara J. Pariente, a member of the state’s Children & Youth Cabinet, opened the conference and underscored the need for improved services and better coordination across sectors. Dr. David Willis, head of the federal home visiting and early childhood systems development initiatives, described the first 1000 days as “a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures.”

Other plenary speakers included Dr. Brenda Jones-Harden who highlighted the impact of toxic stress and offered strategies for “bending the curve” for young children, especially those in the child welfare system. Dr. Erika Hoff shared her research on language development during the luncheon plenary, and an expert panel provided commentary on challenges in finding quality child care following excerpts from a new documentary, The Raising of America. Author and advocate Paul Schmitz closed the three-day gathering with testimony about the power of collective impact and challenged participants to lead from the community up.

More than 40 multi-disciplinary, cross-sector workshops were offered at the conference which brought together home visitors and other early childhood providers in maternal and infant health, prevention of abuse and neglect, early intervention and school readiness.

The summit featured a Showcase of Best Practices with nearly 30 poster presentations highlighting innovative efforts to engage and serve families with young children. The top posters, selected by a group of early childhood experts, were recognized along with a People’s Choice winner, chosen by a vote of by summit participants. The Showcase was sponsored by the Quantum Foundation.

Certificate of Attendance

2014 Many Paths to Enhancing Parent Child Relationships

Dr. David Willis, national MIECHV director, and Dr. Mary Dozier, ABC program developer, were keynotes at Florida’s first early childhood summit April 23-25, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.  Many Paths to Enhancing Parent Child Relationships highlighted innovative approaches to providing infant mental health, home visiting and Part C services. 

The conference was a collaboration of the Florida Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Initiative, the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health, and Florida Early Steps. The event featured a variety of skill-building workshops around trauma screening, integration of services, prenatal alcohol exposure and substance exposed babies, motivational interviewing and strategies for working with fathers, military families, teen parents and families affected by domestic violence. More than 400 participants attended the meeting.