The Child Development Infoline (CDI) / Norwalk Community Initiative is a unique state local partnership charged with establishing a City-wide system to ensure that Norwalk children enter kindergarten developmentally ready to learn.  With multi-year funding from the Grossman Family Foundation, this initiative is built upon a common agenda, which is to empower families in promoting their children’s early development by using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3), a developmental screening tool. The ASQ-3 is a family friendly tool designed for parents and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

This Initiative began in April 2013 with a three-year grant from the Family Grossman Foundation. This grant covered the time frame of April 2013 to June 2016 that was then extended to June 2017. While this amount of time was not adequate to complete the work involved in ensuring that children enter kindergarten developmental ready to learn, it did allow for the identification of partners and components needed to establish a sustainable, integrated, City-wide system of support and services to accomplish our goal.  It also laid the foundation for a second Grossman Family Foundation grant, which is providing five years (July 2017 – June 2022) of support for this work.

CDI’s Norwalk Impact Report provides information on the three year initiative, lessons learned and the implementation of a continuous quality improvement process to continue the work.  Dr. Marcia Hughes from the Center for Social Research has produced a Technical Report outlining the CQI process that is being used to plan and implement a community-wide system for screening, tracking, and promoting young children’s development.

CDI has been partnering with Norwalk ACTs, a cradle to career initiative in Norwalk, to help support the goals of the project.  Members leading the Initiative include representatives from CDI, the University of Hartford’s Center for Social Research and local community partners including Norwalk ACTS, Family & Children’s Agency, Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Center, City of Norwalk, Norwalk Public Schools, All Our Kin. The Initiative includes a Continuous Quality Improvement team comprised of all local and state stakeholders which meets monthly to review and evaluate ongoing work and accelerate progress towards impacting community-level outcomes.

The Grossman Family Foundation grant provided the funding to hire a local ASQ Community Liaison to coordinate all efforts in creating a system for developmental screening and provide hands-on support to all partners engaged in this work. The initial two cohorts of children and families were those enrolled in home visiting services and those enrolled in funded School Readiness and Head Start programs.

For more information about this initiative, contact Kareena DuPlessis, CDI Director at kareena.duplessis@ctunitedway.org, 860 571-7530 or Marijane Carey, Project Consultant at mjcarey95@aol.com , 203 287-8953.