DRIVE

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A data-powered, insight-driven, scalable early childhood model.

When parents and caregivers understand their child’s developmental progress, they can prevent issues before they grow too large to treat. That understanding provides opportunities for educational intervention in the critical “brain-building” phase of a child’s life when services are more effective and less costly.

How DRIVE Works

DRIVE is a first-of-its-kind effort supported by the Private Equity and Venture Capital industry, and it allows families, teachers, health providers, and community leaders to take a data-driven approach to early childhood learning and development. The program empowers caregivers of all kinds to make informed, strategic decisions to tailor supports and resources to children and ensure they enter school ready to learn.

Powered by the insights gained from gathered data and the kids themselves, DRIVE paints a picture of each child’s development and how parents can approach each child’s unique case.

DRIVE uses the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to screen young children in two settings:

  • Early Education and Care Providers: DRIVE partners with early education and care providers to gather and aggregate data from ASQ screenings they conduct. They then utilize the data to improve program quality. They can also use the screening process to engage families in supporting their children’s learning and development.
  • Peer-to-Peer Parent Screeners: We’ve created an innovative peer-to-peer model, hiring and training local parents to become parent screeners who connect to families in their communities. These parents conduct the ASQ screening at home visits or in neighborhood-based settings and offer resources and information for families based on screening results. Parent screeners represent multiple cultures and languages and create connections for isolated families and ensure all children are screened, whether enrolled in formal early education and care or not.

Goals

  • Support Children & Families: Build community capacity to understand and identify children’s developmental needs as soon as possible, get them the supports they need to succeed, and engage families in their children’s learning and development.
  • Drive Policy & Systems Change: Create a universal screening system in order to gain a better understanding of the developmental progress of young children to inform funding and policy decisions. Early education providers can use their data to identify areas where they can improve or fine-tune their programming and resources to help more children stay on track.

Creating Transformative Change

Since 2014, DRIVE has:

  • Collected developmental screening data from over 6,200 children ages 0-5. Among children re-screened after one year, over 65% progressed from showing strong concern to potential concern or developing on track.
  • Trained and supported 35 parent screeners and partnered with 25 early education and community-based programs across 60 sites in Greater Boston to build the infrastructure for collecting screening data.
  • Formed learning communities in Boston and Lynn to utilize and leverage data and maximize the use of ASQ screening as a family engagement and program improvement opportunity and to ensure that children and families’ needs are met.
  • Developed a technology platform to aggregate data and generate program, neighborhood, and community-level data reports.
  • Influenced the activities and opportunities that community-based organizations are providing for families with young children.
    • South Boston Neighborhood House and the Dorchester Family Engagement Network held family events geared at activities to foster fine motor skill development among children and distributed “Fine Motor Kits” to give to parents.
    • Action for Boston Community Development’s Head Start program, which serves over 2,400 low-income children ages 0-5 throughout the city, identified and fulfilled a need for new playground equipment at many of their sites to support gross motor development.
  • Held family events geared at activities to foster fine motor skill development among children. Distributed “Fine Motor Kits” to give to parents through Boston Family Engagement Network, Catholic Charities, ABCD Head Start and other partner agencies.
  • Expanded to communities outside of Boston, including Chelsea, Gloucester, Lawrence, Lynn, Somerville, and Springfield.
  • Informed statewide efforts to improve data collection and infrastructure for screening young children.

For more information, contact Carla Therriault, Program Manager, DRIVE, United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley at ctherriault@supportunitedway.org.

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