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parent hugging a kid in the newspaper

With California’s current focus on improving social-emotional outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities, we here at the Neighborhood are always on the lookout for helpful, family-friendly tools. One such resource is What to Expect & When to Seek Help: Bright Futures Developmental Tools for Families and Providers. Developed by Bright Futures at Georgetown University and the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health, the Tools* are available for any caretaker or professional to access and download for free, both in English and in Spanish. The Infancy tool (English version, Spanish version) and the Early Childhood tool (English version, Spanish version) are the most pertinent to those who are parenting or providing services for children receiving Early Start services. These handouts describe what to expect at each stage of social-emotional development, ways to identify both the child’s and the parent’s strengths, some guidance for talking about a child’s

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sick bear and happy bunnyInfants and toddlers develop quickly in the first few years of life. Each stage of development is marked by behaviors, or milestones, that most children are doing by a certain age. It’s important for families to be aware of these milestones to support and keep track of their child’s development. This handy guide from the US Department of Education lists the key milestones for social and emotional development for children birth to five.

For more information and resources from the "Talk, Read, and Sing!" campaign, visit

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood here.

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Strategies 2.0

strategies 2.0 blue text with flower on top of the letter iOne of the resources mentioned in the SSIP Resource Guide to Social-Emotional Initiatives and Programs is Strategies 2.0, a program funded by the California Department of Social Services which provides free training statewide on the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors. Strategies 2.0 offers a variety of training and supports in-person and online to organizations and individuals serving families throughout California. Registration is currently open for the following dates:

9/8/17, 8am-4pm in San Diego

9/21/17 in Mammoth Lakes (Mono County)

9/28/17 8:30am-4pm in Sacramento

To register, or to find out more information, visit, select “Services” in the top menu, and select “Trainings.” 

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You may have noticed that many of the resources shared on the Neighborhood are focused on the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers. This is mostly because California is in the middle of a long-term, statewide plan, called the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), to improve social-emotional outcomes for infants and toddlers in Early Start. There is a large body of research showing that improving social-emotional skills at an early age leads to positive outcomes for children later in life. This research is the topic of a handout published by the US Department of Education called “Social and Emotional Development Research Background.” This resource is part of the national “Talk, Read, and Sing!” campaign, and was developed along with the US Department of Health and Human Services and Too Small to Fail in order to provide parents and professionals the information and tools they need to support healthy social-emotional development in young children. Take a look at the res

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mother holding baby

California’s efforts to improve social and emotional outcomes for all Early Start infants and toddlers are well underway. To support Early Start professionals, the California Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention (ICC), in partnership with the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), has published Guidelines for Evidence-Based Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment and Surveillance for Early Start in California. This resource provides recommendations and guidance to early intervention professionals on social and emotional assessment of infants and toddlers receiving Early Start services. 

The Guidelines include:

  • principles of family-centered care during the assessment process,
  • steps for conducting an infant-family social and emotional developmental assessment, and
  • recommended standardized assessment tools.

The Guidelines are based on federal and state statutes, as well as a review of evidence-based literature and published best practice guideli

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California’s State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) has led to an increased focus statewide on the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers receiving early intervention services. This includes screening and assessment of social and emotional development in order to ensure that children with social-emotional challenges are identified, and that their progress in this area is accurately measured.

Developmental Screening and Assessment Instruments with an Emphasis on Social and Emotional Development for Young Children Ages Birth through Five is a helpful resource for parents and Early Start professionals. Compiled in 2008 by Sharon Ringwalt at the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC), this publication features over 30 instruments for screening and assessing social and emotional development in young children. The information for each instrument includes a description, the age range for which the instrument was validated, the time to administer, the s

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New SSIP Resource!

NEW in the Neighborhood - a brand new resource for local programs implementing the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)! The Resource Guide to Initiatives and Programs to Support Social-Emotional Development in Infants and Toddlers presents three primary resources that local implementers can access to improve social-emotional development of the infants and toddlers served by Early Start in their regions. For each program or initiative, the Resource Guide describes the program and how it relates to social-emotional development, shares ways to access the trainings and materials, highlights the possible impact to infants and toddlers, and describes the possible costs of implementing the program. This Resource Guide is a helpful asset for any SSIP implementation team.

Find it in the Neighborhood under SSIP Resources, or download below!


This resource was developed by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the California Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC), in partnershi

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2016 Child Health, Education, and Care Summit


Registration is open for the 2016 Child, Health, Education, and Care Summit presented November 8-10 by First 5 California at the Doubletree by Hilton in Sacramento. Click here for more information.

heart shape around peopleEarly registration saves you $50; act soon as early registration ends October 11.

Regular registration will continue through October 28; on-site registration (depending on space) will open November 7, if available.

Guestrooms at the DoubleTree by Hilton and nearby Hilton Arden West are already sold out! Click here to view more hotel options.

As First 5 partners, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Early Start program is sponsoring both a Pre-Summit presentation and a Summit presentation.

The Pre-Summit presentation will be offered on November 8, and will focus on “The 3Rs of Early Childhood: Relationships, Resilience, and Readiness.”

The “Take a Minute . . . . Relationships Matter” presentation, offered during the Summit itself, will focus on social-emotional relati

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Ask the Expert - Take a Minute Campaign

Welcome to our first ever Ask the Expert special feature! This month, we chatted with Kelly Young (below, left) and Robin Larson (below, right) about the statewide "Take a Minute" campaign, and the importance of social-emotional development. Both Kelly and Robin are highly involved in the Early Start community - Kelly is the parent of a child who received Early Start services, as well as the Executive Director of the WarmLine Family Resource Center, and Robin is the Intake Supervisor at Far Northern Regional Center. Take a look at what they had to say below!

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Why is taking a minute for social-emotional development so important? 

Robin: Social-emotional development is the foundation for all other development. Children develop naturally by making early attachments to their parents or caregivers and observing and imitating their behavior. If there is some interruption in this natural connection, children have more difficulty maximizing their pers

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Learning more about social and emotional development just got easier! In addition to the regular schedule of Foundations and Skill Base courses, Early Start Online will also offer Skill Base: Facilitating Social and Emotional Development as an open access course. This means that early intervention personnel can access the same great content as the facilitated Skill Base course, at their own pace and on their own timeline, without assignments or facilitation.

sun background with mother holding baby

How is this different than the Early Start Online facilitated Skill Base course? The open access course features the same essential content as the traditional Early Start Online course, without participant and facilitator support, networking and interaction. This is a self-guided course that you can take at your own pace. There are no assignments or timelines. And there are no discussion forums, facilitation, reminders or reflective communications. It is strictly content! While you are on your own in completing the course, Early S

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Are you a provider of early intervention services? This resource is for you!


As part of the "Take a Minute" campaign in support of the California State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) to improve social-emotional outcomes for Early Start infants and toddlers, the Department of Developmental Services and WestEd's Center for Prevention & Early Intervention have developed a two-page "checklist" of best practices in promoting social-emotional development when working with families in Early Start. The checklist features eight (8) tips on how you can support the parent-child relationship, which is key to social-emotional growth. You can download and print the checklist and keep it with you, or view it digitally on your smartphone or tablet.


This checklist is a great addition to any provider's toolkit, and it supports the wonderful work you are already doing with Early Start children and their families! Take a minute and check out this new resource!

Click here to download this resource di

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The Department of Developmental Services and the WestEd Center for Prevention & Early Intervention are excited to announce the release of the latest parent resources related to the California State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). The "Take a Minute - Relationships Matter!" flyer and video provide parents of infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities important information about how to develop strong relationships with their children, to improve their child's social and emotional development. The video and flyer are available to anyone in the Early Start community to watch and download. Take a minute to support the social and emotional development of the infant or toddler in YOUR life!

"Take a Minute: Relationships Matter!" video (7:28):


"Take a Minute - Relationships Matter!" Flyer:



These resources are related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit these resources in the Neighborhood here and he

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