Foundations to Thrive: Mapping assets in Travis County that support young children and their families
Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can alter the brain development of children and contribute to poor health and social outcomes later in life. Universal prevention of children’s exposure to trauma and supporting families should be a top priority in all communities. In addition to this, screening for and addressing trauma that has already occurred (through various multi-level, cross-sector approaches) is critical to the creation of healthy, resilient communities where all children and families have the opportunity to thrive.
While there are many excellent services, programs and approaches designed to help children and families thrive in Travis County, it is unclear where the strengths and gaps exist across all community sectors that impact children and families. Thus, St. David’s Foundation has provided funds for Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing to develop an asset map to explore efforts in Travis County for preventing adverse childhood experiences and building individual and community resilience.
Our specific goals for the project are to identify the presence or absence, and capacity, of multi-level, cross-sector assets within Travis County that:
1) Promote the optimal brain development and overall health & wellbeing of children ages 0-5 and their families; and
2) Promote resilience through trauma-informed efforts for children and families who are at risk for, or have experienced, trauma.
To guide this process we have developed a “Foundations to Thrive” framework that explores assets and gaps in universal, secondary and targeted approaches across the sectors of health, mental health, education, basic needs, neighborhood climate and the built environment. The asset map will identify what Travis County is already doing well, and also where there are gaps that need to be addressed, at infrastructure, policy, and program and service levels. While it is not about identifying each specific service available to children and families, it will provide a “birds eye” view of approaches across multiple sectors that impact children ages 0-5 and their families. Specific attention will be placed on universal approaches that could impact community resilience and reduce the exposure to childhood adversity. The final report will released at the end of the year and can be utilized by funders, program developers, policy makers and community stakeholders to explore strategic next steps for ensuring Travis County supports opportunities for all young children and their families to thrive.
To learn more about the group’s project check out the project proposal: Asset Mapping Framework and Plan.
Heather Larkin Holloway, Ph.D. is also a Co-Principal Investigator
work is supported through a post-doc, Marian Morris, Ph.D., RN; and MPH intern, Heather Van Diest, LCSW.
Consultation provided by Amanda N. Barczyk, Ph.D., MSW, Associate Director of Research, Dell Children’s Trauma and Injury Research Center, Trauma Services