We are the Mesa County Partnership for Children and Families (PCF), a local early childhood council first established in 1999 and known then as the Early Childhood Partnership.
This group of community leaders gathered initially to discuss an increase in child mortality rates in Mesa County and, specifically, a spike in deaths related to child abuse. It was then determined that a community wide effort was needed to provide preventive and support services to families, so the group formalized with a focus on serving pregnant women and children up to 5 years old.
Meanwhile, people across the state of Colorado were also recognizing a need to provide stronger structures and systems to help children and families create better outcomes. PCF began receiving state funding in 2000 as part of the Consolidated Child Care Pilot Project.
In 2007, the Colorado General Assembly established early childhood councils (ECCs), via legislation (HB 07-1026), to positively impact services for children and families by building an effective and responsive local early childhood system. Having applied for and received council status in that same year, PCF is one of over 30 ECCs across the state.
History of partnership
Positioned to help coordinate efforts and reduce duplication of services, PCF also participates with an assembly of other groups serving children and families.
- During an 18-month period between 2006 and 2007, Mesa County found itself reeling from the deaths of six children under the age of 3. As a result of a town hall meeting of local leadership, the How are the Children? committee was formed to specifically address needs and programming around child abuse prevention.
- In 2011, PCF joined Mesa County Valley School District 51’s Colorado Preschool Program and STRiVE’s Local Interagency Coordinating Council to form a united Early Childhood Steering Committee (ECSC). Given that several people belonged to more than one of these groups, combining efforts was a way to build early childhood systems more efficiently and effectively without requiring members to waste time serving on multiple committees. The ECSC is composed of approximately 25 members and meets every other month; members are nominated for two-year terms.
- PCF has also expanded its ages served up to 10 years old and partnered with another Mesa County collaborative, also established via state legislation, the Family & Adolescent Partnership (FAP), to serve young people ages 11 through 21. Through efforts by PCF, FAP and partners, the entire continuum of children and families is served. Read more about these efforts in our past joint annual community report.
In addition to those mentioned above, multiple statewide organizations provide an incredible amount of information about the history of, as well as support and resources to, PCF and ECCs around Colorado. For more information about efforts across the state, we invite you to visit:
Accolades for Partnership for Children and Families
Notably, PCF has received two national awards as a result of its strong and unique collaboration.