Parent Supports@100%: Innovation 1
Tracking Supply and Demand
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project: Parent Support.1.1
Project 1: The “all-important parent support analysis” project
Unlike other services like transport, we don’t track every single time somebody starts a parenting support program or when a program ends.
No single number will give a complete picture of the situation. But, by gathering information from multiple data sources and tracking them over time, you should get an idea of parent supports in your community. Here’s your list:
- School districts: They may have data on student need and access of various forms of parent support.
- Domestic violence programs: Some may keep data on residents seeking parent supports. Unlike the government, they’re not necessarily obligated to give you the data, but they probably will.
- Child welfare data: While not easy to acquire, there may be a way to assess data on parents needing support. Maybe.
- American Community Survey: The ACS is an ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about the United States and its people. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.
As mentioned, this won’t be as simple an assessment as that of transportation, but if you get these numbers, you should be able to tell if your community is going in a positive or negative direction. In this project, you will be gathering as much data as you can to paint a picture of local parent support. A first step is identifying challenges. Imagine, in some sci-fi future, if all caregivers had a parenting pass — a plastic card or mobile app with a barcode — that was used to access parent support programs. Now imagine that an AI program analyzes all this data from all county residents to identify high and low use, and where gaps in services exist, offering recommendations for fixes.
Project: Parent Supports.1.2
Project 2: The “can you get there from here?” project
Good parent support planners will figure out where candidates for parent supports are concentrated,then plan service accordingly. Many parent support programs, however, are good-hearted but pretty siloed entities don’t do this kind of self-assessment. Luckily, using census data, your own eyes and Google Maps, you can do it for them. First, learn how to do custom drawings on Google Maps (an internet search will lead to some tutorials). Then take a look at the American Community Survey, Google Earth satellite images and the results from your Resilient Community Experience Survey, and you should have enough to get started.
Project: Parent Supports.1.3
Project 3: The “does our parent support go where it should?” project
Your parent support system (notice the term “system,” as it should be one seamless system serving the entire county) should serve all residents, especially your community’s most critical areas: communities with high rates of child welfare involvement, low income areas, areas with high unemployment,and high schools with low achievement and high dropout rates. Find or make a map of the county, then make a map of all “high risk” areas and all parent support programs. Then see how well those two maps overlap. Also take a look at service frequency: are parent supports being offered when the need is the highest? Whether parent supports “serve” the most critical areas depends on more than what the map looks like.
One issue to tackle will be transportation. One type of parent support may well be in the next town over from where the need for that particular service is the greatest. Can you get there from your town? Often the answer is no, especially in places where state transit leaders have ceded their planning authority to county leaders. This may lead to your action team talking with the transportation action team (and possibly more teams).
Project: Parent Supports.1.4
Project 4: The “mapping out the parent program eligibility criteria” project
In this project, you will create a chart to diagram your county’s parent support programs and criteria for eligibility. Your list should include: age ranges of kids, participant household income levels, costs of programs and sliding fee scale options and more.