Smart Beginnings for Southside Families

Smart Beginnings for Southside Families (SBSF) is a multi-generation family service delivery model in the Southside region of Virginia. Families targeted for participation are low income, primarily African-American, and led by a single, first-time parent who is either pregnant or parenting an infant. The project aims to change the life trajectory of children living in poverty by ensuring school readiness for children and sustained personalized support for parents’ family, education and training, and employment goals. The proposed model builds on the existing Smart Beginnings infrastructure to address this region’s specific challenges and opportunities. While the model targets a high-need cohort of participants who will benefit, the enduring impact of the model will be a deeper understanding of strengthened community networks resulting from addressing the policy and process barriers that currently exist at both the local and state level.

This multi-generation approach, implemented through in-home services by Family Coaches supported by a structured network, is facilitating our capacity to bring attention to multiple areas of need for families living in this economically depressed area of the state. Our Family Coaches’ careful documentation of challenges, barriers, and gaps experienced day-to-day by families are critical to this systemic change initiative. Coaches’ ongoing communication with the Project Coordinator is enabling analysis of patterns and trends in barriers and needed solutions. Utilizing an efficient data collection and information management system designed for the project, the Project Coordinator is regularly communicating these emerging trends to regionally-based Smart Beginnings partners and to state-based VECF to impact regional and state level discussion and reform.

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