Reach Out and Read Georgia Wins Funding from Project Launch to Build Partnership in Muscogee County

A profile of an organization seeking to provide continuity between services that help in-needs kids

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In May, we were lucky enough to be chosen by Project Launch in Muscogee County to pursue a partnership with the Health Promotions Division of the Maternal and Child Health under the Georgia Department of Public Health.

 We are so grateful for this support and are thrilled by the synergies between our two organizations. We wanted to bring you a little more on Project Launch so you can join in our enthusiasm. 

We were able to talk to Mia Neal, Project Launch Coordinator in the Department of Public Health in the West Central Health District. 

 LAUNCH, in this case, is actually an acronym that stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health. It coalesces services to address the needs of children and integrate and coordinate services a child might receive across many areas of his/her life. It's designed to promote the wellness of young children ages birth to 8 by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development.

 In Georgia, this five-year pilot program began in 2014 in Muscogee County. Muscogee is in Columbus, Georgia, which is known as Georgia's third-largest city and has a growing community of 250,000. The community was selected as the pilot site because it is among the top 25 identified as "at-risk" counties in Georgia's 2010 Maternal Child Health Needs Assessment. Based on the needs of Muscogee County and the goal of DPH to improve outcomes for children, Project LAUNCH provides Georgia the opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing health and developmental concerns that are critical to ensuring children have the most advantageous opportunities to succeed in school and life.

The program's values include a holistic perspective, with a goal to work across disciplines with all those involved in the lives of young children; a public health approach, which centers on prevention and promotion; collaboration to improve the coordination across systems that serve young children and their families; and culturally competent, attentive to not only children themselves but also to their families, the settings that most impact them, and the larger system that contribute to their health. 

 Five prevention and promotion strategies that Project Launch employs are: 

  • Screening and assessment in a range of child-serving settings
  • Integration of behavioral health into primary care settings
  • Mental health consultation in early care and education
  • Family strengthening and parent skills training
  • Enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being

This partnership will help Reach Out and Read Georgia expand and sustain our effort in Muscogee County to serve 8,952 young children and their families in the area.

 Mia Neal expressed the organization's excited about expanding ROR GA in Muscogee. "Our goal is to ensure children are equipped with social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills necessary for school and life. We are thrilled to collaborate with the physician community on this effort."

Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111