July 2022: Connection and Family Strengthening

Positive, loving, and nurturing early childhood experiences, including in utero, impact child development, especially from zero to five. These positive experiences can act as a buffer to stress later in life. By age five, ninety percent of a child's brain is developed and builds more than a million neural connections a second (Zerotothree.org). Various community sectors connect and strengthen families through resources, education, and support to create safe, healthy, thriving families. The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) defines family strengthening as a "deliberate process of giving parents the necessary opportunities, relationships, networks, and support to raise their children successfully, which includes involving parents as decision-makers in how their communities meet family needs." ( The National Human Services Assembly, Family Strengthening Policy Center, a Program of the National Human Services Assembly Policy Brief No.1) Supporting families from preconception through the first year of parenting is at the forefront of the CCCN mission and vision. Together with our CCCN members, local community partners, and advocates, we aim to create programs and services to increase access to resources, support informed decision-making, and improve the health and well-being of our community. Let's discuss additional established resources and support that connect and strengthen families on the Central Coast.

Let's explore various providers and community agencies connecting and strengthening families on the Central Coast providers.

Many types of providers and community agencies support connecting and strengthening families on the Central Coast. Last month, we shared a blog post on resources and support in Early Childhood from zero to one. We recognized top priorities for families in the first year: childbirth/parenting education, pediatric visits, feeding, bonding, and childcare. Along with these needs, as your child grows, continuing parenting education, school/educational settings, placement, and play opportunities at home and outdoors can continue to connect and strengthen families throughout the early years. You can read our past blog post here.

During the first five years, various types of providers and agencies have vital roles in connecting and strengthening families in the first five years: Teachers, Childcare Providers, Pediatricians, Hospitals, Birth Centers, Obstetricians, Family Physicians, Midwives, Pediatricians, Nurses, Doulas, Lactation Consultants, Mental Health and Wellness Professionals, Social Workers, Parent Coaches, Community Based Organizations, and Support/Play Groups.

These providers, businesses, and organizations support the unique needs of families on the Central Coast from zero to five to create safe, healthy, thriving families. Many programs and services include pregnancy, labor, and postpartum support, parent coaching, childbirth education, tracking child milestones, childcare, early education support, lactation/feeding support, in-home visits, child abuse prevention, children with special needs, mental health services, and referrals.

In San Luis Obispo County, agencies include the Center for Family Strengthening, SLO Help Me Grow, First 5 SLO, Pregnancy & Parenting Support of San Luis Obispo County, Parent Connection of SLO County, CAPSLO, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), Jack's Helping Hand, SLO Hospice. Click on the link to learn about each organization's mission and programs. *Not an exhaustive list.

In Santa Barbara County, agencies include but are not limited to CRR SBC, Calm 4 Kids, Family Services Agency, First 5 Santa Barbara County, and the Maternal Child Adolescent Health Department of Santa Barbara County.

Let's look at where these professionals and agencies work and where we can find them!

Many local agencies, providers, and businesses work in various settings and locations:

  • For-profit

  • Nonprofit, community-based, private offices

  • County health departments

  • Educational institutions

  • Private in-home visits

  • Mobile health clinics

  • Telehealth

Here at CCCN, we've created a community calendar, a collaboration of local events around the Cent