High-quality early interventions are the smartest community investments.

May 19, 2015 / Data, National Data / 0 Comments /


High quality early interventions lower the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and show a return on investment of 6:1.

Key strategies include:

  • Parent education and coaching
  • Home visitation
  • Quality early childhood care and education
  • Pre-kindergarten

Total economic lifetime benefits include:

  • Increased lifetime net earnings
  • Increased tax revenue
  • Reduced health care and mortality costs
  • Public system savings

These are conservative estimates that primarily focus on the quantifiable ECONOMIC return on investment and don’t take into account the opportunity and psychological costs of remedial education, toxic stress, etc.

Source: Diaz, Jose Y. “Prospective Return on Investment of the Northside Achievement Zone.”Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (2015): 12-14. 15 Feb. 2015. Web.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives reduce teen pregnancy and teen parenthood.

March 16, 2015 / National Data / 0 Comments /

Accountability for student performance goes well beyond teachers and schools

January 7, 2015 / Briefs 2015 / 0 Comments /

Ensuring that our community’s children have high-quality teachers and schools is absolutely critical to student success. However, children are not just products of their schools, but also of their families and communities.

We know that children from impoverished backgrounds are at risk for poor school performance. From early childhood through adolescence, this performance gap only grows wider as children progress through school. Teachers and schools are left battling the headwinds of poor out-of-school developmental and educational support for their students as this performance gap continually widens. Children from poverty often do not have the same family or community support that many middle-income children have.

Therefore, policies to improve educational (as well as health) outcomes must also address family and community factors. High quality pre-kindergarten is vitally important for young children, especially those from at-risk backgrounds. However, when high quality pre-kindergarten is combined with strong home and community “wrap-around” services, the benefits are only magnified. Organizations that advocate for a holistic civic infrastructure that supports children from cradle-to-career understand how important family and community are to children’s success in school, career, and life.

Research shows us that success builds upon success. However, we can’t expect schools to “go it alone.” To foster success among our children, we must hold ourselves, our families, and our communities as accountable as we hold our teachers and schools.

Read more in our full brief.


Download Research Brief (PDF, 2015-Jan)

Delta Health Alliance continues to provide a greatly needed service to families in the Indianola community through the Leflore Parents as Teachers Program.

May 5, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /

In 2013, the Delta Health Alliance Parents as Teachers (PAT) program assisted 91 Leflore County families in great need. This program sends a trained parent educator to each participating family’s home each month to offer support and assistance to new mothers and their infants and young children. In the past year, parent educators completed 1,112 personal visits.

Here are some highlights of PAT program gains over the past year:
  • More healthy birthweight babies and improved birth outcomes.
  • Improved rates of childhood immunization.
  • Healthy development of young children, supporting the health and well-being of the mothers of those children. Over 83% of child participants in the PAT program are developmentally on target across all five domains of development – communication skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving skills, and personal social skills.
  • Much needed social support provided to new and expectant mothers to support their coping skills, their care-giving skills, and their long-term strategizing skills.
In the Delta, PAT returns $3.80 for every dollar invested.
Meanwhile, we also identified several key domains where additional programmatic efforts are needed.

Download Report (PDF, 04-2014)

An Evaluation by Memphis Data Partners.

The Wraparound process

March 17, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /

Of the most common team-based planning models (Child Welfare: Family Group Decision Making; Juvenile Justice: Restorative Justice Teams; Developmental Disabilities: Person Centered Planning; Education: Positive Behavioral Support Teams; Spirit and Healing Circles; and Integrated Systems: Wraparound), the Wraparound process is the most developed and the most researched. It shows that children and youth can be served within their communities, in their family homes, and in a manner that respects the dignity and importance of the family.

The Wraparound process is
  • A way to improve the lives of children and youth with complex needs and their families so that they can live in their homes and communities and realize their hopes and dreams.
  • Not a treatment, type of service, or a program.
  • Characterized by a plan that is developed by a family-centered team, individualized based on the strengths and culture of the child and their family, and is needs rather than services driven.


Download Brief (PDF, 2014-04)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Resilience

March 17, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /

Since the ACE study (1995-97), a joint project between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, research has shown that childhood trauma damages a child’s brain, impairing its development and function. These adverse childhood experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death, as well as poor quality of life.
The ACE Study looked at ten different kinds of childhood trauma, in three different categories:

  1. Abuse: Emotional, Physical, Sexual
  2. Neglect: Emotional, Physical
  3. Household Dysfunction: Mother Treated Violently, Household Substance Abuse, Household Mental Illness, Parental Separation, Divorce, Incarcerated Household Member

The more ACEs scored, the higher the chances for social and health problems, both short- and long-term.

As a result of the findings of this study, individuals and organizations, including schools, medical practices, and hospitals, as well as entire communities have been putting ACE/Trauma-informed practices in place. They have realized that the nation’s worst health and social problems may benefit from understanding that these problems could well be consequences of ACEs. Their efforts are geared to building resilience to counteract ACEs and strengthen families.


Download Brief (PDF, 04/2014)

Interventions for students at the greatest risk for academic failure.

March 17, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /
  • Finishing High School: Alternative Pathways and Dropout Recovery
  • 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention
  • Preventing Future High School Dropouts
  • Dropout Prevention Practice Guide
  • Mentoring At-risk Youth: Improving Academic Achievement in Middle School Students
  • The Impact of Mentoring on Academic Achievement of At-risk Youth


Download Brief (PDF, 04/2014)

Shelby County Schools offers alternative schools to achieve more positive outcomes for higher-risk children.

February 25, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /

Shelby County Schools has adopted public health’s multi-tiered model of intervention for achieving more positive outcomes for higher-risk children.
• Primary prevention is designed to keep problems from emerging.
• Secondary prevention is designed to stop and reverse the slide toward negative outcomes.
• Meanwhile, tertiary prevention approaches are focused on young people who need the most serious and immediate intervention.

The most vulnerable students in Shelby County are concentrated within alternative schools.


Download Brief 04/2014 (PDF)

Literacy in Memphis and Shelby County: Some groups of low-income students are doing much better than others.

February 25, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /

Literacy is context specific.
Literacy is necessary for college and career readiness and success.
Many Shelby County Schools (SCS) students are not college ready in reading.
Low-income youth are less likely to be proficient in reading.
Some groups of low-income students are doing much better than others.
Young adults’ literacy levels reflect early learning, school environments, and family and community factors.
Stronger, individual-level measures of literacy level need to be part of any literacy intervention.


Download Brief 03/2014 (PDF)

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Pre-K makes a difference

January 8, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /

All test scores improve after one year for Pre-K.
Children with multiple family risk factors show the greatest improvement in scores after one year of Pre-K.

Source: Shahin Samiei, M. Sell & D. Imig. 2012. “Analysis of Pre-Kindergarten PPV-T scores by Family Risk Factors.”