An inside look at the Communities That Care grant | SkyHiNews.com

An inside look at the Communities That Care grant

Julie Hines, Communities That Care (CTC) Facilitator.

Julie Hines, Communities That Care (CTC) Facilitator has $87,000 in grant money to begin to study and implement programs related to the health and well-being of the children in Grand County. Funding for the project is renewable for five years.

The CTC program is an evidence based, prevention planning system that will enhance existing coalitions and community partner initiatives to address youth substance abuse.

Existing coalitions means that part of Hines' tasks include finding existing leaders in the community who are change-makers; the people who have access to resources and an opportunity to change policies or systems. Hines asked them to join the CTC Key Leader Board to continue their influence in making change for the children of Grand County.

Hines is in the process of building the Community Board(CB). The CB consists of about 30-40 interested community members from all different towns and sectors within Grand County. This CB will do the work of identifying the needs of Grand County youth and create strategies to address identified needs. The CB will then make recommendations to the Key Leader Board. The training program begins on Jan. 24.

About the Grant

The grant was secured on July 1, 2016 and is being implemented across Colorado by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Funding for the grant comes from the Marijuana Cash Tax Fund.

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Local Public Health agencies were eligible to receive this non-competitive grant if they had identified mental health and/or substance abuse as a priority in their county. Grand County identified both. Thirty-nine counties accepted the grant in the first round of non-competitive funding with eight more communities receiving funding in the competitive round a few months later.

Grand County Public Health wrote the letter of intent with details on how Grand County would use the money because youth prevention efforts are a large part of the work they already focus on.

"We realize that the youth of our community are the future of Grand County, protecting their health should be a priority," said Hines.

This is a long-range solution to youth problem behaviors such as substance use. The Community Board will be looking at data to make recommendations, specifically the Healthy Kids Colorado survey recently completed by sixth- and 12th graders at East and West Grand schools. Some of the questions posed to students included what's going on in your school, do you have support at home, do you feel safe and do you like to go to school? The Community Board will analyze these answers. The data will identify problem behaviors and the risk factors and protective factors that are predictors of those behaviors.

"That is what this project is about, looking at data and discovering solutions," said Hines.

Community interaction

"The community is very important in the CTC process."

"By coming together as a community with shared strengths we will have an impact on the well-being of our kids."

Once trained, Community Board members will form work groups to begin the process. Once strategies are identified the Board will look for evidence-based strategies to implement in an effort to change problem behaviors. For strategies that are considered large-scale environmental strategies funding is available through this grant. For identified gaps in programing that would affect smaller populations CDPHE will give some guidance for where to fund funding but some of that research will be the work of the CB work groups said Hines.

"If we identify a policy of procedure in the county affecting kids, we would look to the Community Board to make recommendations and the Key Leaders to consider any necessary changes," said Hines.

The final goal of the program after the five years is to build sustainability for the program and to build a coalition into the future when the grant expires.

Prescribed program

Hines runs the program and keeps on track with excel spreadsheets and timelines. CDPHE provides a coach to help guide her as she creates the CTC coalition which is expected to continue their work for years to come. The Communities That Care model is evidence–based and has a proven track record of helping communities to make changes that improve the lives of their youth.

Five Phase Process

The five phase process includes these five steps: Get started. Get organized. Develop a community profile. Create a community action plan. Implement and evaluate.

Realizing that behavior is multi-faceted the five-phase system looks at all aspects of a child's life. These spheres of influence include Individual, Relational, Community and Societal. Strategies will look at each sphere and target predictors of problems in a child's life rather than waiting until problems.

Background

Hines is uniquely qualified to lead the program. She earned a Masters in Public Health with a focus in community health education. Her work includes community development work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia for two years as well as a project coordinator in Guatemala. Hines has lived in Grand County for over two years and brings her work and life experiences to the project in Grand County.

"I learned so much about myself in my work in developing countries."

She believes that these experiences helped her to understand how the impact of your environment and life experiences can bring people to a place of making unhealthy choices which can lead to addictions.

Grand County Public Health will continue to report back to the community on the work of the coalition and the Sky-Hi News will be following the program through the life of the grant.

Community Board Orientation

Tuesday, January 24

4:30-8:30 p.m.

Tuesday January 31

4:30-8:30 p.m. 

Granby Public Library Community Room

55 Zero St, Granby 

RSVP by 10 a.m., Monday January 23to jhines@co.grand.co.us or 970-725-3787.