Change Makers: We amplify the voices of Kansas families. In partnership with KDHE, the CPPR team utilized unique ways to engage Kansas families to help inform the state’s Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) priorities for the next five years.
Partnerships for change
To make the world a better place for children and families, CPPR connects with a wide array of partners across all sectors, knowing that when we all work together, real change is possible, and progress can be made. Recently we were asked to partner with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to develop the 2021-2025 Title V MCH Needs Assessment. As part of this process, we were able to utilize unique information collection methods to encourage feedback from Kansans.
Innovative approaches engage the community
When Rebecca Gillam, CPPR associate director, and Chris Tilden, CPPR research project manager, set out to assist KDHE with the MCH needs assessment, they knew our team would need to come up with new ways to entice Kansans to provide their input. Many Kansans had recently been engaged in the Preschool Development Grant needs assessment and strategic plan process, and the CPPR team was concerned these individuals would have a bad case of meeting and survey fatigue.
“We wanted to approach the project in unique ways to engage families, providers, and clients, so we came up with a variety of new approaches,” Chris says.
The team’s multi-faceted approach was so novel, they were invited to present at the first national Maternal Health Learning Innovation Center’s symposium. Rebecca, Chris, and Katie Hart, research project coordinator, shared “Engaging Community Voices in a Statewide MCH Needs Assessment” during the symposium.
Specifically, in addition to traditional needs assessment techniques, the CPPR team used these novel approaches to reach traditionally unheard voices:
- Our Tomorrows StoryBank. They drew upon existing stories in the Our Tomorrows StoryBank that focused on maternal and child health. Several hundred stories were utilized for the project.
- Youth Photo Project. They recruited adolescents in Fredonia, Hoisington, and Kansas City to capture photos of things in their communities that impacted their health and the health of their communities. Several dozen youths from these communities participated.
- Interactive Kiosks. They placed 18 interactive kiosks around the state in places like libraries, community centers, and medical practices. Thousands of responses to a bank of MCH-related questions were received.
- Regional Interactive Open Houses. They held open houses in the six MCH regions, and participants were invited to visit interactive stations to share their views. Nearly 150 people participated in the open houses.
Feedback from these efforts, combined with extensive data, and input from other partners and state agencies, helped inform the MCH priorities that are captured in a State Action Plan built around five domains: maternal, infant, child, adolescent, and children with special health care needs. Priorities focus on building comprehensive, holistic systems of care; ensuring support for children and families during key transitions; and supporting the development of a knowledgeable and skilled MCH workforce.
What is Title V
Title V of the Social Security Act commits federal support to states to ensure adequate health services for women, infants, children, and families. Enacted by Congress in 1935, it is the nation’s longest standing public health legislation and is one of the largest block grant programs managed by the federal government.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Family Health administers the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant in Kansas. The Kansas MCH program works to implement policies and programs to improve the lives of women and children in collaboration with many stakeholders.
Dig into the needs assessment and findings