The Navajo Project LAUNCH will close the gaps in coordination and collaboration across its large and complex early care and education system by enhancing and streamlining system integration efforts for families with young children. This process will include the development of a model for an outreach, screening, referral, and care coordination, enhanced through Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, public education and community strengthening, and parent training, to include Navajo culture and tradition. The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, covering over 27,000 square miles. The pilot community is the Navajo Nation reservation in McKinley County, New Mexico. The need for this program can be seen in the following demographics: the percentage of children living in poverty in target areas is 45.4%; half of the housing units in the Navajo Nation Region (50%) experience housing problems, and over 40% of all units have “severe housing problems.”; almost 72% of the children ages 0 -5 in the Navajo Nation are enrolled in SNAP; 84-87% of American Indian children attending McKinley County public schools qualify for free or reduced price lunches; only 49% of American Indian mothers in McKinley received first trimester care, with 2.5 % not receiving any prenatal care; 47.5% of McKinley county residents have no primary care physician; and 83.3% of children enrolled in early intervention were at risk for social emotional delays.
Program goals include: Goal 1: Improve system integration for families with young children by supporting coordination and collaboration across, workforce development in infant early childhood mental health, and the development of a Young Child Wellness Advisory Group; Goal 2: Develop a central access point for screening, referral, care coordination, parent education, and infant mental health consultation for families with young children in the target area; Goal 3: Increase focus on early childhood wellness across all developmental domains, with emphasis on social and emotional development, through public education and community strengthening events that support culture, tradition, language, and social emotional health and wellness. Goal 4: Increased access to children’s mental health promotion/prevention services through infant early childhood mental health consultation; Goal 5: Develop a central access point for families with young children and providers to obtain screening, referrals, and care coordination; Goal 6: Support primary care providers in integrating behavioral health into primary care through access to social and emotional screening and referral, workforce development, and infant early childhood mental health consultation; Goal 7: Increase quality of home visiting services by enhancing home visitation with programmatic and child/family centered infant early childhood mental health consultation; and Goal 8: Increase availability of culturally sensitive parent skills training in the target community. Total unduplicated families to be served over 5 years is 560 families; 140 unduplicated families per year.