Approach

Infancy to Innovation (I2I) is a systems change framework employed across community sectors and coalitions to improve developmental outcomes for vulnerable children in Ingham County. The framework combines the resources of the Capital Area community, represented by the Power of We Consortium (PWC) and Michigan State University (MSU) to promote positive transitions for all children through three critical periods of development:  1) early childhood, 2) middle childhood/early adolescence, and 3) late adolescence/early adulthood.

Because we know that success in each of these critical transitions requires that children have access to multiple supports and opportunities, our ultimate goal is to affect change at all levels of the community systems that support development--that is, families, neighborhoods, organizations, and communities. The emphasis is on integrating and improving existing systems for each transition stage to eventually form a seamless web of supports at key points in development. This framework focuses on systems that support all vulnerable children with a special emphasis on children living in areas of concentrated poverty.

We know that given appropriate supports and opportunities, all children can successfully meet the inevitable challenges to development and thrive. However, children and youth who face conditions of extreme adversity related to poverty and/or discrimination are exposed to multiple risk factors and often lack access to supports and opportunities in their neighborhoods to enable them to reach their full potential. Low-income children living in areas of concentrated poverty are particularly vulnerable, as they are exposed to the "double jeopardy" of lack of family and neighborhood resources. Because minority children are much more likely to live in these areas than White children of similar socioeconomic status, racial segregation further limits the access of minority families to "opportunity neighborhoods."

Systemic Perspective on Infancy to Innovation Developmental Pathway

By involving all elements of the community system that influence youth development to support positive transitions through these critical periods of development, Infancy to Innovation will help all children and youth establish a trajectory for success. Infancy to Innovation will:

  • focus on systems that support vulnerable children through the critical developmental periods with a special emphasis on children living in areas of concentrated poverty, specifically the greater Lansing community
  • learn what works and does not work in translating research into action
  • develop best practices and new knowledge for service providers
  • implement specific strategies to inform policies that can ameliorate barriers to access for marginalized groups
  • use social marketing principles to drive change in targeted mental models, personal beliefs, and behaviors
  • identify successful paths to creating effective policies and practice