New Initiatives Ensure Children are Healthy and Ready for Kindergarten

The Children, Families, and Communities program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of two new initiatives to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Recognizing that the foundations for long‐term success in school and in life are laid in a child’s first five years, the initiatives focus on supporting children’s healthy development and creating quality early learning opportunities.

The Starting Smart and Strong Initiative strives to ensure all children grow up healthy and ready for kindergarten by improving the quality of adult-child interactions across all settings where young children learn and grow. The Packard Foundation is partnering with three California communities to develop and test solutions that support parents, caregivers, and educators as they prepare children to be healthy and ready for school with self-confidence and a love of learning. This ten year initiative is bringing together public and private supporters to create a local comprehensive early learning network in select California communities, and ultimately scale what works. The Packard Foundation awarded the first Starting Smart and Strong grants to The Franklin-McKinley School District, Fresno Unified School District, and Oakland Public Education Fund who will work closely with community partners to lead and implement the initiative in their communities.

The Children’s Healthy Development grants are the next phase in our longstanding commitment to ensuring children’s health and well-being. This three year exploration, continuing through 2016, will support grantees in five states to collaborate on innovative approaches to making sure that all children receive the developmental screening, support, and intervention they need to grow and thrive. Grantees Children Now (California), Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Illinois), Voices for Ohio’s Children, and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children are adopting a comprehensive approach to children’s health so that parents and providers have the appropriate tools to screen and promote their child’s healthy development.

For more information about the Children, Families, and Communities program, please visit our webpage.