Fairbanks Native Association (FNA), Alaska Center for Children and Adults (ACCA), and ThrivAlaska (Thriv) have partnered as a “community applicant” to serve children (ages birth eight) and their families, promoting wellness by addressing social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral development. By removing service silos, this partnership will provide simultaneous coordinated mental health and early childhood services.
The proposed community-wide Fairbanks Young Child Wellness Project (Wellness Project) will serve all ethnicities in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) of Alaska.
All FNSB agencies (tribal and non-tribal) struggle with the same issue; service silos restrict service collaboration, integration, and rapid access to care, creating a need for systemic change rather than individual agency change. FNA’s Behavioral Health Department serves an equal number of Natives and non-Natives, so it is critical to FNA that the service system is accessible and collaborative to fully meet the needs of its service population. For these reasons FNA and has opted to partner with two community agencies and is applying as a “community” applicant.”
According to the FNSB Early Childhood Development Commission, only 57% of FNSB children arrive to kindergarten with the tools they need to succeed in school. These children’s developmental screening scores are below state averages. Alaskan youth also have higher Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) than the national average. ACES impair development in childhood.
FNA, the required Mental Health provider and lead agency for the Wellness Project, has been a leader in FNSB behavioral health for over five decades. As there have been times FNA was the only provider of residential care, it has a history of serving all ethnicities. FNA will serve as the point of entry for the adult mental health services and will be the point of entry for adult services, including Behavioral Screening and Assessment (SBIRT), Mental Health Consultation and Family Behavioral Therapy, and referral to its continuum of behavioral health care. FNA will oversee coordination and collaboration among FNSB mental health and child-serving agencies and will coordinate the Young Child Wellness Council (YCWC). ACCA has been a community leader in Infant Learning and Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health for more than 20 years and has provided services in Alaska since 1956. ACCA will provide Early Intervention Services, Developmental Screening, Family Training and serve as point of entry for children ages 0-8 who have developmental, social, and/or emotional concerns. Thriv, 44 years early experience, will focus on augmenting family training through its existing family training program (in-kind) and children’s mental health for its early childhood programs.
The Wellness Project will serve 755 unduplicated young children and 2307 family and staff members over the five year life of the project.