Early Childhood Iowa
Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) (formerly Community Empowerment) is a state initiative that was established in Iowa Code in 1998 to create a partnership between communities and state government to improve the well-being of children ages 0-5 and their families. This law created a system and framework that enabled legislators to provided funding for early childhood services through local area boards covering all 99 counties.
The statewide system consists of three parts: a State Early Childhood Iowa leadership board, the Stakeholders Alliance advisory group, and local ECI areas. Together the Early Childhood Iowa system is tasked with ensuring
- our children are healthy,
- ready to succeed in school,
- grow up in safe and supportive communities with secure and nurturing families,
- and have access to secure and nurturing early learning environments.
Vision and Mission
Locally, serving Cedar and Jones counties, a group of citizens lead collaborative efforts to unite agencies, organizations, business, and community partners ensuring the following:
- Vision – Every child, beginning at birth will be healthy and successful.
- Mission – To strengthen the health, education, and well-being of children 0-5 and their families, supporting services and increasing the quality of these services through collaboration and support.
Our work is based on the principles of
- Partnerships that avoid duplication
- Children and their families as priority
- Focus on outcomes
- If possible, services accessible within the community
- Need-based services
- Assessment for continuous improvement
- Efficient, consumer-friendly service deliver
- Open collaborative, communications
The Cedar/Jones Early Childhood Iowa Board promotes and demonstrates community collaboration, establishes community needs and priorities, develops a system for comprehensive services to support families and communities, and makes decisions about allocating state funding to assist families in Cedar and Jones counties with children ages prenatal through 5 years of age to meet the identified needs.
Board Members include:
- Stephen Williams, Chairperson
- Deb Schwitzer, Vice-Chairperson
- Lisa DeFour, Secretary
- Teri Jo Griebat, Treasurer
- Joan Blundall
- Dee Cook
- Rodger Good
- Lucia Herman
- Jamie Nelson
- Matt Schneider-Adams
- Josh Sundstrom
- Heather Weers
Board Meetings are held the 3rd Thursday of every month with the exception of July. Meetings are held at the Olin Consolidated School in Olin in the community room next to the Olin Public Library.
Meetings are open to the public and input and participation is always welcomed.
If a person with a disability requires an accommodation in order to participate in this meeting, please contact the Cedar/Jones ECI Director.
If you are interested in joining the Board, please contact the ECI Director. Get involved. Make a difference in the lives of young children in Cedar and Jones counties.
Priority areas as follows have been identified through a needs assessment and outlined in the area’s Early Childhood Community Plan:
- Improve access to quality early care and educational opportunities for young children and their families
- Promote the development of a local mental health system that identifies and addresses the needs of young children and their families
- Support a dental health system that meets the needs of young children and their families
Early Childhood Community Plan
- Appendix A (Data Tables for Community Plan)
- Appendix B (Data Review 2019)
- Appendix C (Needs Assessment Survey Results 2019)
- Appendix D (Focus Groups One on One 2019)
- Appendix E (Assessments Reviewed 2019)
- Appendix F (Community Partners 2019)
- Appendix G (Fiscal Assessment 2020)
The Cedar/Jones ECI Board contracts funds with local organizations that provide early childhood services in the area, for families with young children, ages 0-5, that live or work in Cedar and Jones counties. Community partners provide such services to address area identified priorities in Early Care and Education, Child Health, and Family Support.
Sherri Hunt, ECI Director