ABERCROMBIE ADMINISTRATION INCREASES ATTENTION TO EARLY CHILDHOOD
Announces Early Childhood Coordinator; Continues Health Start
Honolulu – Moving forward on his plan to invest in young children, Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced Terry Lock as the Governor’s Early Childhood Coordinator. This is a new position in the Administration that includes the following responsibilities:
- planning a state structure that supports an early childhood system that improves outcomes for children prenatal to 5
- leading coordination among state agencies to improve services and outcomes for children and families
- developing public and private partnerships; and
- advocating for public policy to achieve better outcomes for Hawai'i’s keiki.
“We are responsible for shaping the future of our keiki. Young children cannot be an afterthought,” said Governor Abercrombie. “The lack of adequately investing in our young children is a failure to recognize widely understood research and a failure to live by our notions of common sense and core values. Terry Lock understands this and brings her decades of experience to lead the charge in a new direction.”
Ms. Lock will be instrumental in establishing an early childhood action plan for the state, which will be shared by the Early Learning Council and state agencies. Ms. Lock’s appointment is the first step in planning for a department for early childhood which was articulated in Governor Abercrombie’s New Day plan. Ms. Lock will start in the Governor’s office in mid-July.
Governor Abercrombie’s Early Childhood Coordinator is funded in part through a $300,000 private grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation over the next two years. The grant will also support Governor Abercrombie’s Education Adviser, Tammi Chun, who oversees education policies. The Governor’s Office will continue to seek opportunities for permanent funding for these coordinators.
Governor Abercrombie also announced today that the Department of Health (DOH) will continue the Healthy Start program, which identifies the most at-risk families in Hawai'i and proactively supports them at the earliest possible time.
In 2008, funding for Healthy Start totaled $15.6 million, $11 million of which from state general funds. Over the last few years, funding for Healthy Start has declined significantly to $1.5 million in the current fiscal year. In this last legislative session, the State Legislature did not appropriate funds to continue Healthy Start. DOH believed Healthy Start was a priority and reallocated $3 million annually for the next two fiscal years from the Tobacco Settlement Special Fund to maintain the current program. This commitment supports families and also enables Hawai'i to receive federal funds for home visiting services.
“Our administration has made early childhood a priority, as outlined in our New Day plan,” Governor Abercrombie said. “We will find ways to invest in the right services, like Healthy Start, and ensure that all children get the chance to reach their full potential.”
The state’s funding for Healthy Start qualifies the state for additional federal money for the program, which is recognized nationally and supported by the Obama Administration. A total of 4,130 families, which includes 4,411 children, benefit from Healthy Start statewide.
ABOUT TERRY LOCK
Ms. Lock has over 35 years of field experience in early childhood education and family and community work. She currently serves as Director of Community-Based Early Childhood Division of Kamehameha Schools, where she directs a statewide system of early care and education programs and services for more than 2,000 Native Hawaiian children, from prenatal to age 5. Her previous positions include a National Head Start Fellowship in the Office of Head Start in Washington, D.C.; Early Childhood Resource Coordinator for Maui County; and a curriculum and training specialist on a variety of early childhood topics. Ms. Lock received her B.S. in Human Development from University of Hawai'i at Manoa and her M.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. She is a graduate of Maui High School.
ABOUT HEALTHY START
Healthy Start has two major components. The first is Early Identification (EID) for statewide, universal population-based screening/assessment/referral. Eligible families screened and assessed positive are offered home visiting services. The second component, Home Visiting (HV) fosters family functioning, promotes child health/development, and enhances positive parenting skills for families engaged/retained in service in order to reduce the risk of child maltreatment by addressing the malleable environmental risk factors via information, support, and linkages to needed community resources. Those accepting service from Healthy Start are referred and enrolled in home visiting. Services are voluntary and intended to continue until the child reaches three years of age (or five years of age, if there is a younger sibling).
ABOUT THE W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa.
For more information on the foundation, please visit www.wkkf.org.