They Can't Give What They Didn't Receive

Apr 25, 2021 - In the News


Give What They Didnt Receive Header

Across the country, community coalitions are popping up because one agency alone cannot solve the issues of child abuse and neglect. In early 2020, PCHAS co-founded one of these organizations in North-Central Texas. The Navarro County Early Childhood Coalition has a vision that every child in the county will experience well-being, feel connected and be ready to thrive by age five.

Growing Together, an offshoot of PCHAS’ Child & Family Program, plays a leading role in the Navarro County Early Childhood Coalition. Both organizations focus on improving the health, safety, relationships and school readiness of young children. The coalition brings together early childhood and social service leaders who are reducing the rates of child abuse and neglect and keeping families together.

Already this organization has received an award from the state for its collaborative efforts. Why is it so important and how is it making a lasting impact on families and young children?

  • Collaboration over competition. When non-profit agencies, schools, healthcare centers and government agencies see each other’s work as complimentary and not as competition we can begin to expand the safety net for families who are most vulnerable. Our coalition has worked together for the last year to create various resources for families. These include Stay-at-Home Guides to help parents navigate parenting through a pandemic and Summer Food Guides so families can access free meals for their children.
  • Data-driven outcomes. Coalitions look at the big picture. What factors are contributing to high rates of child abuse and neglect? How can we “turn the curve” and improve the safety and connection of young children? Our coalition uses the Results-Based Accountability process to study local data and create solutions. This year the coalition will host Child Safety Days where we will present important information to parents on water safety, car seat safety, sleep safety and internet safety to help parents keep their children secure.
  • Creative problem solving. Coalition work always sparks innovative ideas for community change. In the last year we have encouraged young readers by installing 10 Little Free Libraries. These are places where families can access books to start preparing their children for school. Our coalition has placed these libraries all across Navarro County in  rural towns and our main hub, Corsicana.

As a community, we have decided to throw away the old idea that says it is the parent’s job alone to raise their children. We must face facts that many parents today who are raising children grew up in families with a lack of safety, health, connection and school readiness themselves. They cannot give their children what they did not receive. We have to help, teach and empower them to do better. The mantra of our community is, “There is no such thing as other people’s children.”

Rachel Gillespie Headshot

Rachel Gillespie, LMSW, directs the Growing Together Program in Corsicana, Texas and co-founded the Navarro County Early Childhood Coalition.

Read more about our innovative social services that keep children and their families together. 

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