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Foster Connections, Explore Resources, and Build Capacity through the NOW Innovation Forum

Updated: Oct 9, 2018

September 28, 2018

By Diana Rivera, Vital Village Network

All across the country, parents, providers, educators, and advocates like you have been coming together around a powerful vision: that each and every child, parent, and family can live whole lives and reach their full potential in healthy, thriving communities of opportunity.

In neighborhoods, cities, counties, tribal nations, and states, community leaders have begun to identify not only the people who are facing the greatest inequities in health, education, and access to early childhood resources, but also the vast array of community resources, assets, and family-centered solutions that can be harnessed to change this reality. Local policy wins and tangible systems changes are gaining momentum, elevating the voices of parents and families at important decision-making tables.

But the work is far from complete. We know that systems change cannot be done in isolation and that building local capacity is an ongoing progress that requires focused tools, responsive resources, and mechanisms for peer learning and exchange.

With this in mind, we are excited to welcome you to the Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW) Innovation Forum, a newly redesigned resource that aims to support the work of community coalitions, leaders, and initiatives seeking to better align early childhood, health, and education systems by eliminating systemic barriers and bringing community-driven solutions to the forefront.

The NOW Innovation Forum brings together resources, stories, discussions, innovations, and other interactive tools in a central hub to promote shared learning and networking across the field and among communities that are working ensure all children and their families achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Originally launched in 2016, NOW is grounded is a strong equity-based and trauma-informed approach — to ensure that the residents and families facing the greatest inequities are driving every stage of the process — which is reflected in the curated tools and content featured on the site.

Through this online platform, members of the NOW network will be able to access a wide range of resources and tools to increase the reach, scale, and sustainability of local efforts. Members will be able to:

  • Connect with and learn from community coalitions, local leaders, practitioners, advocates, and other stakeholders who are leading innovative efforts to align early childhood, education, and health systems to advance equity

  • Understand the impact of childhood adversity and adverse community environments on wellbeing

  • Share examples of local innovations and strategies from their own communities

  • Build community capacity in key levers of community change, including how to: 1) Utilize equity tools; 2) Develop inclusive, family-centered coalition structures and governance processes; 3) Mobilize broader community engagement and foster authentic community leadership; 4) Utilize data and storytelling tools to monitor progress, measure benchmarks of success, and communicate with diverse stakeholders and policymakers; 5) Plan for sustainability to further strengthen and scale systems-transformation efforts

The NOW Innovation Forum is an ongoing project, and we invite you to take part in building up this resource by sharing your stories, tools, and ideas. To get started, we encourage you to:

We hope the NOW Innovation Forum can support the critical work you are leading on the ground. Do you have a question or resource you’d like to submit to our library? Contact us today and follow us at @NOW_WellChild to stay connected. We look forward hearing what you think!

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