Our System

We want a system where local communities are empowered to make effective decisions for their citizens

Connecticut communities are proving every day how to work collaboratively in order to deliver services in new, more effective ways. Communities are best positioned to develop plans that identify local, state and federal assets and make decisions that are in the best interests of their young children and families. However, they cannot do it alone.

Since 2001, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund has been supporting communities to develop these capacities through the Discovery intiative. To date, 41 communities from across the state are in the process of developing, enhancing or implementing a comprehensive birth-to-age-8, early childhood plan.

Over the years, the Memorial Fund and its partners have learned many lessons. We know that to do this type of work you need a coordinator, you need access to data analysis, and you need funds for capacity building to train people. You also need people from many walks of life, with many backgrounds, and many experiences. And in our results-oriented, "I needed that yesterday" environment, you need to find time to build relationships.

At the core of this work are connections. Reaching out to families,neighbors and community members we can build on local expertise and knowledge and truly create a system that works for all children.

If we want to create local plans that will address the diverse challenges faced by families from different racial, ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds, those families must be a part of the planning process.

It sounds like a lot, but it can be done. In fact, a report was conducted by Holt, Wexler & Farnam LLP, Families and Communities Raise Our Children, that shows that given all the investments made in early childhood in all its forms in Connecticut, the amount of money it takes to make it work at the local level is very small.

Video Screening Toolkit

Please consider hosting a community screening of this video. It is an opportunity to bring people together to converse and identify the best approaches to improving our state's early childhood system.

To support your efforts, we offer this video screening toolkit and topic guide.