ASQ Project in Kimberley
CAPC Site Coordinator Diana Card, has been working as Project Coordinator with the Kimberley Early Childhood Development Committee, who have recently completed an Ages & Stages Community Pilot Project. The project brought together multiple community stakeholders in a cooperative venture.
The programs and agencies involved included: Axis Family Resources Ltd; Bellies to Babies Outreach Program; Family Resource Program of British Columbia; Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA); Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL); Community Action Programs for Children (CAPC); East Kootenay Child Care Resource and Referral; East Kootenay Supported Child Development; East Kootenay Infant Development Program; Interior Health Authority - Public Health; Interior Health Authority – Preschool Speech & Language Services; Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank; Ministry of Children and Family Development,(Youth Justice/Child Protection/Child & Youth Mental Health); Paq'mi Nuq'yuk Aboriginal Early Years; School District #6; and Summit Community Services Society.
The project report outlines the background to the pilot project: “In the small rural community of Kimberley, B.C., the multi-disciplinary Early Childhood Development team works to support, empower and strengthen families with pre-school children. In recent years, the team identified the need for a community-wide system to provide early identification and intervention for children with developmental delays. Early intervention is an effective and cost-efficient way to prevent or reduce behaviour issues, language delays, and health problems that can affect children’s success in school and later life. An essential component of such a system is education for parents on normative development and supportive child care practices.
The child development data mapped by the Human Early Learning Project (HELP), using the Early Development Instrument, indicated that one in four children (27%) in school district #6, which covers the Kimberley area, is vulnerable in at least one of the five core developmental areas measured, placing them at increased risk of difficulties in the school years and beyond. This evidence, along with other identified community concerns, created the impetus for the ASQ project.
In 2012, grants were received from the Columbia Basin Trust and Children First to conduct a pilot project. The project tested the feasibility and effectiveness of a community-wide system for developmental screening of all three year old children in Kimberley using the Ages & Stages Questionnaire 3 (ASQ-3) and Ages & Stages Social-Emotional Questionnaire (ASQ:SE).”
In Kimberley, Public Health nurses currently provide ASQ screening of all six-month old infants. Since a one-time screen may overlook children whose delays occur after the initial screen, the pilot project was designed to provide a complementary screening for three year olds in the community, using both the Ages & Stages Questionnaire-3 and the Ages & Stages Social Emotional Questionnaire, with the long-term aim of creating a sustainable community-wide system of annual ASQ screening for all three year old children in Kimberley.
The pilot project ran from mid-2012 until the end of June 2013. Diana Card was hired as Project Coordinator to plan and implement the project in cooperation with the ASQ Pilot Project Committee. The responsibilities of the Pilot Project Coordinator were to:
- Develop and implement a communication/publicity strategy to promote the project throughout the community and surrounding area.
- Create and implement an efficient system of ASQ and resource information distribution and collection.
- Engage community service providers to promote and distribute ASQ packages to families.
- Collect & score questionnaires and return to parents, including resources & referral information where needed.
- Follow-up referrals and provide additional support if needed.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Maintain records of statistical data.
- Provide a comprehensive report for funders and interested parties.
The other staff member for the pilot project was a Pilot Project ECD Team Liaison with responsibility to provide project management support.
To further the project’s long- term goal of creating an efficient system for the community to implement the development screen on a sustainable basis, Kimberley CAPC has committed to integrating coordination of this city-wide program into their ongoing work. “In the coming year, the Community Action Program for Children has committed 24 hours for over-seeing the project and scoring, and possibly some funding for photocopying. Three other providers have committed to scoring approximately fifteen questionnaires each. At the time of this report, additional funding has been accessed through the Columbia Basin Trust to support this project in the coming year. Training for providers will be funded and ASQ kits purchased. Strategies will be tested to overcome the remaining challenges with the intention of creating a self-sustaining system by year three.”
This project demonstrates the strength of multiple ECD groups working together to achieve positive outcomes for their community. The flexibility within the CAPC/CPNP/AHS models enables these programs to integrate community-led initiatives into ongoing programming and to play a valuable role in the coordination of cooperative multi-agency work in communities.