Please join the collaboration of child-serving individuals and agencies to help build partnerships to benefit the children of Jefferson County. Select a work group (or two) that best suits you and get involved today! Simply click on the work group's contact link to sign up or request additional information.
Work group areas of interest are based on state priorities for children identified through VOICES for Alabama Children.
Early Care and Education:
Networking early care providers; working toward increasing pre-K screening for children.
The Early Care and Education(ECE) Workgroup focuses on issues impacting children birth to five and their families. Our group is healthy and thriving . Members come from all different professional backgrounds and organizations including Success By 6, Childcare Resources, Alabama Public Television, YWCA, JCCDC, JCCEO, UAB School of Education, child care centers and other vital early childhood organizations and services. Our work group serves as the advisory group for all of Jefferson County’s state funded First Class sites a program of the Department of Children’s Affairs.
We also take learning and networking seriously so each month we feature an issue or organization’s services and resources to build the capacity of the members to better serve our youngest citizens.
Most recently we have been focused on community based best practice for engaging parents of young children to assure these children are healthy, happy and ready to learn when they enter school. Kids don’t come with instructions so we want to make sure families and community partners know where to go to the knowledge and resources to make certain kids are getting a good start in life.
Beth Johns chairs the ECE. Beth is an avid children’s advocate, occupational therapist and public health professional. She has been awarded the 2010 Alumni of the Year award from the UAB School of Public Health and completed a 16 month long Robert Wood Johnson funded fellowship through the Center of Creative Leadership in North Carolina. As a native of Birmingham Beth is dedicated to making her hometown shine.
To join the Early Care and Education Workgroup contact Beth Johns.
Partnering with UAB to study local factors that increase High School graduation.
There are growing concerns about the numbers of young people across the county who are dropping out of school or who are at risk for dropping out. We see this problem as having a serious negative impact the quality of life for these students and for all the citizens of Jefferson County.
The CPC’s Economic Security Work Group is co-chaired by Hazel Bass Germany of the Urban League and Steve Hannum, from The Literacy Council. The group will develop recommendations along two fronts related to high school dropping out. The first front, working mainly with the county’s 12 school systems, addresses promotion of high school graduation and prevention of dropping out. The second front, working with CPC members and their allies and colleagues, addresses what community-based agencies/organizations/advocacy groups can do to help those who have already dropped out get back on track to economic security for themselves and their families.
To join the Economic Security Workgroup contact Hank O'Steen.
The Education Workgroup is focused on increasing parental involvement in Education.
Jennifer Horton, is the chair of the Education Work Group. The Education Workgroup is dedicated to ensuring Jefferson County's schools and programs are designed to benefit every child. We believe our children deserve an excellent education, regardless of where they live.
Our children’s success comes from effective teaching, support, and guidance from caring adults in their families, at schools and in their communities. The Education Workgroup strives to bring school administrators, teachers, parents and communities together. We’re building partnerships to benefit Jefferson County children.
An important initiative for us is the promotion of the Alabama Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC) Family Friendly Walk-through program. The program includes a 32-item checklist for volunteers, preferably parents, to use in assessing school components such as parking availability for parents, signs pointing to administrative offices, etc
The Education Work Group is definitely on the move. We recently toured the Family Resource Center for Birmingham City Schools to see first-hand the wealth of education materials available to parents of children attending Title I schools. The tour included a Q&A Session with Birmingham's Title I Family Involvement Coordinator. Members of the Education Work Group also participated in a recent PTA workshop.
Through further collaboration with Operation New Birmingham and The Community Foundation, the Education Workgroup was able to help communicate important information to parents about the new Birmingham City Schools Family Involvement Program Parent Planner that is now available to all parents whose children attend Title I schools.
Achievements have also been made in after-school programming, such as the pilot program implemented through our partnership with North Avondale Public Library.
To join the Education Workgroup contact Jennifer Horton.
Focus on revitalizing the School Health Network, increasing awareness of children's mental health needs and partnering with ADPH to tackle infant mortality.
Chaired by Wynne Spier and Candy Palmer, the Health Work Group is another example of volunteers collaborating to fulfill the Cooperative’s mission—Building Partnerships to Benefit Children.
Recognizing that the most effective means of positively influencing children’s health is to work closely with schools, this work group envisioned a “School Health Network” (SHN). The SHN would include representatives from the county’s public school systems and, eventually representatives from private schools as well. Through the SHN, issues and concerns common among most or all of the Network’s members would be addressed.
A survey developed and administered by the work group found that even schools with diverse socioeconomic populations share many health concerns, chief among them: asthma, diabetes, mental health, school emergencies, obesity and nutrition.
In 2006 the Health Work Group began organizing and offering a series of SHN presentations and workshops to address those common concerns. Physicians, educators and other professionals from UAB and Children’s Hospital were recruited to discuss specifics such as administration of Glucagon, factors that can trigger asthma attacks, and carbohydrate counting.
The Health Work Group targeted school emergencies as the issue to address through the first conference for school nurses and other people who must respond during school crises. Titled “Facing Emergency Situations at School: Before, During and After" the center piece of the conference was a panel discussion among prominent children's specialists: Carden Johnston, MD Emeritus Professor Pediatrics, UAB School of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine; Tom Vaughan, Jr., M.D. – Vice President for Mental Health, Children’s Health System; Joe Acker – Executive Director, Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System (UAB Health Systems); and Stephen Baldwin, M.D. – Medical Director for Disaster Responses, Children’s Health System
To join the Health Work Group contact Wynne Speir or Candy Palmer.
Strong interest in children's safety issues ranging from child abuse and neglect to emergency preparedness and disaster planning.
Anita-Scott Smith, of Jefferson County's Department of Human Resources, is the chair of the Cooperative's Safety Work Group.
Previous activities include successful development of community coordination addressing domestic violence as a threat to children's safety. Members of the CCR (Coordinated Community Response) include volunteers and representatives from agencies and organizations such as the Alabama Coalition Against Violence, Birmingham Police Department, Hoover City Schools, Jefferson County Department of Human Resources, Jefferson County Family Court, Jefferson County Schools, Legal Aid Society, Legal Services Alabama, The Women's Fund, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and YWCA of Central Alabama.
During the past year, the Safety Work Group built a strong coalition of agencies and organizations offering mentoring services to children and families. Through that coalition the Safety Work Group sponsored a Mentor Safari, held at the Birmingham Zoo, where partners could showcase their services. Held on America's National Day of Service, the event was designed to help each agency recruit more mentors. The Safari offered a brief overview of mentoring and included opportunities to start the background investigation requirement for mentoring children. Building on the success of that event, members of the Safety Work Group developed a full day seminar, The Mentor Institute, that offered one-stop-shopping for individuals thinking of becoming mentors, organizations starting mentor programs and informative sessions about the psychological aspects of mentoring, strategies for recruitment and a lunch during which mentors and mentees told their stories of life changing mentor relationships.
Through the successes of these mentoring activities the Children's Policy Council now supports the Central Alabama Mentor Coalition. This group brings together all those whose special interest is mentoring to continue the collaboration and increased efficiencies developed through the past year.
To join the Safety Workgroup contact Anita-Scott Smith.