We all play a role in supporting children and families to thrive in Colorado!

In 2015, the Early Childhood Colorado Partnership (ECCP) convened more than 25 stakeholders along with FrameWorks Institute and GroundFloor Media to develop Colorado’s Early Childhood Shared Message Bank. This bank provides messaging for early childhood stakeholders to use across the state in order to speak from a collective voice, engage more audiences and mobilize action around strong early childhood development and to address early adversity and toxic stress in children.

Partners across the state are using these resources to leverage their work with consistent messaging when discussing early childhood development, adversity, and toxic stress to keep shifting social norms toward positive social change for family and child well-being in Colorado. The Message Bank also includes examples of materials other partners have used.

Be sure to share how YOUR community is utilizing the Shared Messaging by adding your information to the Campaign Map. Also see how other early childhood stakeholders in Colorado are using it!

Visit the Messages in Action Map

How to Use the Shared Message Bank

This Shared Message Bank is intended to be a resource for communications managers and other staff from nonprofit organizations, businesses, health care providers or any other community organization to help guide the messages used in collateral, web content, reports, talking points or other communications.

It is not a script, but a guide to help organizations ensure that we are all aligned in how we are talking about early childhood development, toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences.

It’s important to note the Shared Message Bank is informed by a FrameWorks research brief developed specifically for this project. Many questions about the terms, assumptions and data behind the key messages are explained in the FrameWorks brief. We recommend those using the shared messages bank become familiar with the FrameWorks research brief, “Talking Toxic Stress and Resilience in Colorado.”

Positioning Statement

Toxic stress occurs when children experience prolonged and significant adversity such as poverty, abuse, neglect or caregiver substance abuse without adequate adult support to buffer their experiences. Toxic stress can lead to health and learning problems because it hinders brain development, preventing children from realizing their potential and fully contributing to Colorado’s future. We must all work together to prevent toxic stress in children by supporting stable and nurturing relationships and environments.

Mission Statement

For Colorado to prosper, our kids must thrive. Therefore everyone has a role to play in building a solid foundation for Colorado’s kids.

Key Messages

All Together For Prosperity

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. No matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – children need high-quality support for development. We need a broad base of participation to obtain civic, social and economic well-being in Colorado.

Positive Parenting Works

Services and policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote positive interactions within families and caregivers help kids develop their potential.

Resilience Is Built

Supportive environments, relationships and community interventions can help kids exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative effects and become productive citizens. Investing in intervention and supportive programs to promote resilience helps kids develop their potential.

A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Positive mental health provides a foundation of stability that supports all other aspects of healthy development. Children’s ability to thrive begins to take shape prior to birth and is impacted just as much by their social and emotional development as it is by their physical development. Practices, policies and services that promote positive early childhood mental health help ensure a child’s success.

Gold Standard Examples

Family Friendly Workplace Toolkit

EPIC/CDPHE/HealthLinks

First 1,000 Days

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Audience-Specific Messages

Parents and Caregivers – Together for Prosperity

All kids, no matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – need high-quality caregiving for their development. We all have a role to play in helping parents and caregivers prepare Colorado’s kids for the future. Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members.

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Parents and Caregivers – Resilience Is Built

There are interventions and supportive programs to help parents and caregivers counterbalance the negative cognitive effects of prolonged and significant adversity. These can help parents and caregivers plan for their families and build nurturing, strong, healthy relationships.

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Parents and Caregivers – Positive Parenting Works

Every day parents and caregivers impact Colorado’s next generation from pre-conception forward. Sometimes the issues parents and caregivers face hinder Colorado’s kids, especially in early childhood. Parents and caregivers need to be supported and engage themselves with services and policies that can help strengthen their families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid them if they’re struggling with adversity, and help them deliver high- quality care and strengthen their families so all kids can achieve their potential.

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Parents and Caregivers – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Building a healthy human brain is a process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. A strong foundation early on increases the probability that a child will build strong social and emotional skills, which are just as important as cognitive skills and physical health. Parents and caregivers play a critical role in supporting their children’s mental health and can nurture it by actively engaging with their children and building caring relationships. And when parents need extra support in this area, a wide variety of programs and services are available to provide support and resources.

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Health Care Providers – Together for Prosperity

The health-related effects of toxic stress are clear, yet Colorado thrives when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. We all have a role to play, including health care providers who may be able to screen patients for toxic stress at medical appointments and direct appropriate services and interventions to parents and caregivers.

Example Campaign:

First Thousand Days – Children’s Hospital Colorado

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Health Care Providers – Resilience Is Built

Intervention and support can help kids exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative effects and become productive citizens. In addition to screening to detect toxic stress, health care providers can help identify adversity factors and direct patients to supportive programs and services that can tip the scales toward resilience.

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Health Care Providers – Positive Parenting Works

Parents and caregivers can deliver their best care when they are supported with health and wellness services and health care policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote family planning. Screening for toxic stress at medical checks and caring for women during their pregnancy are part of this.

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Health Care Providers – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Children’s social and emotional development begins before birth and is just as important to their success as their cognitive and physical development. Asking pregnant and postpartum women about their social, emotional and mental health, as well as asking parents about children’s social and emotional development and mental health during medical appointments can go a long way toward ensuring children’s overall healthy development. By increasing access to screenings and providing assessments, guidance, and referrals to appropriate services for expectant and new mothers, young children and families, health care providers can help families address all aspects of a child’s well-being.

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Educators – Together for Prosperity

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. No matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – children need high-quality support for development. We need everyone’s participation to obtain civic, social and economic well-being in Colorado.

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Educators – Resilience Is Built

Intervention and support can help kids exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative effects and achieve their academic potential. Stress reduction techniques, brain breaks and other school-based emotional skills can help kids develop resilience and rebalance their brain chemistry so they can achieve their potential.

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Educators – Positive Parenting Works

Finding ways for parents and caregivers to be involved in schools can help strengthen families and promote positive parenting so kids can be ready to learn and engage in the classroom setting and at home.

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Educators – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Children’s social and emotional development (e.g., self-regulation, impulse control and emotional literacy) is just as important to their success as their cognitive and physical development. Early experiences affect lifelong health and learning. Educators can help ensure that children’s development, be it social, emotional, cognitive or physical, is on track for success in school and beyond by providing socially and emotionally rich classroom environments, intentional promotion strategies and strong partnerships with families. Onsite programs promoting mental health in schools and in community-based settings can focus on connecting with families to promote wellness, prevent behavioral health challenges, and provide resources and support for intervention when needed.

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Community Resources and Services – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Children’s social and emotional development and their relationships with others are just as important as their cognitive and physical development. Communities and organizations can and do work together to identify innovative solutions to integrate into their existing services and/or develop new, high-quality programs designed to promote healthy social and emotional development in children within the context of their families or other primary settings. These have been shown to lead to long-term improvements in children’s mental health.

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Community Resources and Services – Together for Prosperity

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. Rather than working toward punishment or remediation, community resources and social services can work to prevent toxic stress so all kids are prepared to participate in Colorado’s future. This proactive approach is good for kids and for Colorado as a whole.

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Community Resources and Services – Resilience Is Built

Intervention and support can help kids exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative effects. Programs that provide support and incentives for well-being, rather than punishments, can help inoculate kids against extremely challenging circumstances they face as they grow up.

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Community Resources and Services – Positive Parenting Works

Services and policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote positive interactions within families and caregiving communities help kids develop their potential. Parents and caregivers need access to services and need to have a voice in their development. These can help parents and caregivers deliver their best care.

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Community Members and Groups – Together for Prosperity

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. No matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – children need high-quality support for development. We need a broad base of participation to obtain civic, social and economic well-being in Colorado, even from those who are not involved in day-to-day raising of children. The community’s role is vital to helping Colorado’s children succeed.

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Community Members and Groups – Resilience Is Built

Positive relationships and supportive communities can help kids exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative cognitive effects and become productive citizens. Positive community groups can help kids and families develop strong, nurturing relationships and strengthen their families so kids exposed to toxic stress have the opportunity to achieve their potential.

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Community Members and Groups – Positive Parenting Works

Parents and caregivers need to be supported with services and policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote positive parenting so kids can develop their potential. A positive community can play a vital role in supporting parents whether it’s through spiritual support, addiction support, emotional support or many other ways. Engaged communities can help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children.

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Community Members and Groups – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

The future prosperity of our community depends on its ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation. Early experiences affect lifelong health and learning; young children who experience positive social and emotional development and healthy relationships with others are equipped to cultivate the skills and capacities that will enable them to become strong community members. When we ensure the healthy development of the next generation, they will be more likely and able to contribute positively to our communities through productive and responsible citizenship.

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Business – Together for Prosperity

Colorado thrives when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. All kids, no matter their background, deserve the chance to proactively participate in Colorado’s future. From the plains to the mountains, rural areas to urban centers, we all have a role to play in preparing Colorado’s kids for the future, even those of us in the business community who may not be directly involved in raising kids.

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Business – Resilience Is Built

Intervention and support can help people exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative cognitive effects and become part of a productive workforce. Gainful employment and the dignity of work can help people build resilience so they can achieve their potential and develop healthy relationships despite adversity.

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Business – Positive Parenting Works

Parents and caregivers need to be supported with smart business policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote positive parenting so kids can achieve their potential. Child-friendly policies in the workplace can make a big difference in parents’ ability to raise their kids to succeed and participate in Colorado’s future.

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Business – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Investing in employees and in the community builds trust and supports economic development. Employers can attract and retain a workforce that is more present, prepared and productive when they have family-friendly workplace policies. Family-friendly employers allow parents and caregivers the flexibility to tend to their children’s physical and mental health needs and maintain strong familial relationships (e.g., by being present at a child’s activities). At the same time, investing in programs that help young children build a solid mental health foundation will help ensure a skilled and capable workforce in the future.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use this language in all my communications?

No. Use the language your organization is most comfortable using to convey the four key messages of Prosperity, Positive Parenting, Resilience and Early Childhood Mental Health.

I'm not sure this messaging will resonate in my community. How can I use it?

The framing and research that serves as the basis for this message bank has been tested with a broad range of individuals and communities from many backgrounds. Yet, it’s YOU who knows your community best and can translate these messages in the tone and voice that most resonates with your community.

I don’t like the messaging about Prosperity, Positive Parenting, Resilience and Early Childhood Mental Health. Can I just use different messaging?

The messaging is based on the FrameWorks research brief, which studied messaging about toxic stress and adversity in children that’s most effective with the general public. The goal of the ECCP is to have all organizations in Colorado familiar with the evidence-based messaging so we can create systemic change in the state.

We don’t typically talk this way to our audiences. Do I need to start using this tone?

No. You know your audience best. This language is here to help you convey the Prosperity, Positive Parenting, Resilience and Early Childhood Mental Health messaging. Share it in your own voice.

I only work with one of the target audiences. Do I have to discuss all the messages with them?

No. Target your messaging to your audience and use messages that work best with them.

I don’t understand how to use this document. Is there someone I can talk to about how to use it?

Yes! Please contact: [email protected]