Members & Partners

What the Flathead Best Beginning Community Council has accomplished 
and why it matters

Our 2017-2018 Sponsoring Members:

Abbie Shelter – Violence Free Crisis Line

ChildWise
Discovery Developmental Center
Evergreen Schools – District 50
Head Start
Kalispell Schools – District 5
The Nurturing Center
PLUK – Parents Let’s Unite for Kids
Flathead Association for the Education of Young Children
Flathead City-County Health Department
Sunburst Mental Health
United Way
Youth Dynamics

Our members and partners recognize that the first 8 years of childhood are a uniquely important time. In addition to being adorable and playful, children are consistently learning and testing their environments and relationships.  With advances in brain development research, we now understand that every moment of childhood matters. 
Our members and partners recognize that the first 8 years of childhood are a uniquely important time. In addition to being adorable and playful, children are consistently learning and testing their environments and relationships.  With advances in brain development research, we now understand that every moment of childhood matters. 

What are the benefits of working with us & why does it matter?

  • We know each other better as professionals than before the Council started, reducing barriers to multi-organization collaboration (and big funders look for collaboration)
  • We can communicate and respond quickly to new opportunities for professional development and program funding because we have the “infrastructure” to convene people and work together
  • We are applying new models and treatment approaches, resulting in better direct services (such as Parents as Teachers or Trauma-Informed Care)
  • We created a new family support home visiting collaboration with four organizations, expanding the community’s capacity to serve families in need, increasing the number of organizations using home visiting and bringing new program funding to the Flathead
  • Staff at all levels of member organizations know each other better, resulting in better support in their day-to-day work
  • We have seen an increase in confident, accurate referrals to and from Council members over the last 3 years which we can attribute to our networking at BBCC meetings (Child Development Center)
  • More people know Head Start, and more referrals come from BBCC; we also understand the STARS quality rating system better because of the Council
  • Scholarships for child care have not decreased in the Flathead, unlike most other areas of Montana
  • We can make an affordable investment in our staff by sending them to the Council’s relevant, high-quality, locally accessible professional development opportunities with “top of the line” trainers
  • The needs assessment is used in seeking funding and planning programs
  • Scholarships for child care have not decreased in the Flathead, unlike most other areas of Montana
  • We can make an affordable investment in our staff by sending them to the Council’s relevant, high-quality, locally accessible professional development opportunities with “top of the line” trainers
  • The needs assessment is used in seeking funding and planning programs

What We Do:

Communication, Coordination and Relationship-Building between Providers
  • Built “infrastructure” for the Council: Held formative meetings with the Steering Committee, formed several committees and working groups, created Guiding Document, organizational chart and letters of commitment
  • Convened meetings of dozens of organizations to form the Council, allowing for communication, coordination, and relationship-building that support better referrals and increased collaboration
  • Educated Council members and guests about finding community resources, the pending 211 service, mental health services and domestic violence.
  • Developed and furnished an office for the Council, and created and maintained contact information to allow for a wide communication network
  • Created a Strategic Plan, including a “Blue Sky” Vision for the Early Care System in Flathead County, a SWOT analysis of the current system, and goals to guide the work of the Council
  • Assessed needs of young children and families in a comprehensive way: Surveyed community members and providers, conducted focus groups of families and providers
  • Completed detailed assessment of home visiting needs, and used results to guide the Strategic Plan and collaborative grant applications
Collaboration for Family Support
  • Supported the creation of a new collaborative parent education program, Flathead Family Partners, expanding the Parents as Teachers model to three nonprofits and bringing the SafeCare Augmented model to the Flathead. The Council acts as the advisory body for the collaborative effort
  • Adopted Parents as Teachers as the Council-supported model for home visiting
  • Planned and carried out the Family Forum and Resource Fair with mini-seminars on early childhood topics, parent consultations, resource booths, and food for the community
  • Participated in community events such as the Northwest Montana Fair, Breastfeeding Fair and Share Fairs to gather input on the needs assessment and connect families to community resources
  • Distributed approximately $5,000 in educational books, and $4,000 in backpacks to children at community fairs and events through Family Forum grant support to the Council
Professional Development to Improve Direct Services
  • Provided education in Parents as Teachers model (including 3-5 year old component in May 2014)
  • Provided seminar in Trauma-Informed Care
  • Provided I Am Moving, I Am Learning seminar to incorporate movement into education
  • Providing Bridges Out of Poverty seminar