Combating the Opioid Epidemic Through Evidence Based Home Visiting

Home Visiting Policy Network

Dear Colleagues,

As we all know, MIECHV still must be reauthorized.  Our commitment to seeing that it happens has never wavered and has been strengthened through renewed resources and mechanisms to increase our educational work to stakeholders.  As well, we have all seen that the media is joining our push to get MIECHV reauthorization done.

One of the areas of dialogue that has opened up traction is the opioid epidemic.  Simply stated, lawmakers are being challenged to demonstrate their commitment to combat the national opioid addiction crisis.  The immediate renewal of MIECHV for 5 years would be a fruitful and effective starting point.

Accordingly, we have prepared a brief on the correlation of the MIECHV program and opioid addiction/substance abuse prevention.  The following is an excerpt of that brief:“The opioid crisis in our country is quickly spiraling out of control.  This is mainly due to a disconnection between the science of addiction and the treatment of addiction.  The medical field has identified addiction as a disease and developed drugs to aid in “kicking the habit” but treatment of the disease has not been effectively implemented as a health crisis. In many cases, proper attention has not been given to early detection and the behavioral implications of the addiction cycle.

For the most part, programs and efforts designed to reduce opioid addiction in the United States have largely focused on providing individuals with drug replacement therapy.  Simply swapping out an addicted individual’s drug of choice for an alternative, without the proper corresponding behavioral treatment, has not only proven ineffective in the preventing substance abuse, but has likely contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic.  While traditional approaches may have contributed to the current epidemic, MIECHV, through the implementation of its built-in benchmark and underlying constructs, has quietly and steadily been addressing the illicit drug and substance abuse crisis through maternal and infant health programming with demonstrated reductions in illicit drug use amongst families served.

In addition, reauthorizing the MIECHV program for 5 years with bolstered resources, could prove to be a serious step toward tackling the opioid epidemic.  This is attainable due to the outcome measurements that are embedded in the MIECHV design.  These are known as the benchmark area constructs (constructs) which are used to both guide home visiting models and to evaluate their effectiveness.  The constructs tie MIECHV to evidence based behavioral treatments for substance abuse.  This is done by including elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) in the constructs Read More…

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December 2017 Collab Corner

I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays and is looking forward to the new year and all of the possibility it holds. There are some exciting things coming together for 2018 based on the work between the Oregon Early Learning Division and Oregon Head Start Association. Workgroups established over the summer have continued to meet and information generated from these groups is helping to inform practice and policy in the work that we are all doing. A newer workgroup that has been added this fall is one looking at Contracted slots in Oregon between Head Start programs and the Office of Child Care. If you are familiar with this topic or have questions around it; feel free to contact me or Kelli Walker ( about joining this group, or just drop me an email with your thoughts/questions.

I will be on leave frequently in the coming months and will have limited availability. Feel free to reach out to Michael Connor ( if you have questions relating to Oregon PreKindergarten and Dawn Barberis ( if you have questions on other topics, if she can’t help you- she is great at knowing who can.

Teacher of the Year Nominations are open!

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, is pleased to announce that the Oregon Teacher of the Year program is expanding to honor exemplary educators in every region of the state!

  • Nominations are open statewide through January 31, 2018.
  • Teachers will submit their applications by March 30, 2018.
  • Each of the 19 Oregon Education Service Districts will select a winner from their region.
  • 19 Regional Teachers of the Year will be honored across the state in May 2018!
  • One of the Regional Teachers of the Year will be named the 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year in September 2018!

Regional Teachers of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, be celebrated across the state, and be in the running for the honor of 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year. The 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize (with a matching $5,000 going to their school!) and serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers.

Nominating a teacher is easy! Just go to and complete the four-step online form.

If you have any questions, please contact Oregon Teacher of the Year program coordinator Jenni Knaus at 503-947-5860.

November 2017 HS Collab Corner

This past month I had the pleasure of accompanying Micker (Mike) Richardson, the Head Start Collaboration Director for Region 11 AIAN (American Indian and Alaska Native) programs, on a site visit to a couple of Oregon’s Tribal Head Start programs. At Ca-Uma-Wa Head Start we met with Margaret Gunshow, the program manager for Head Start, and the Education Director, Modesta Minthorn-Pinawollenmay. We learned about the strong investment and support from tribal leaders and community members to enhance the work done with children and families. Cradle BoardsOne example of this was some beautiful cradle-boards crafted by Cleo Agnes Dick, an elder with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation; specifically for the Head Start classrooms.

At the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, we met with Cheryl Tom, who oversees the Head Start program, and was quick to invite her content area managers so that they could share more with us about their work and the uniqueness of the supports they provide. We also learned about a generous gift of regalia from a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to assure that each child had an item to wear for a Pow-wow that was occurring later that week. The work of these programs is vital to children and families and the connection between the priorities of the tribes and the goals of Head Start for children and families was clear. It was a first step in continuing to build a meaningful relationship with these valuable providers in our state.


October 2017 Collaboration Office Corner

Welcome to National Head Start Awareness month! This is the time of year that programs can connect with their partners to share with them the exciting work that is being done and learn the ways we can better partner together. The National Head Start Association has launched a “Books building bridges” initiative which encourages Head Start programs to reach out to their local law enforcement agencies to invite officers to read books to children. You can learn more at You can also use your own individual venues to get the word out about Head Start. If you share your story and your excitement on social media be sure to tag #HeadStartAwareness !

Recruiting and enrolling families is an important part of the work of our Head Start programs. We are constantly trying to find the families who need our services most. In the past couple of years Head Start programs across the country are facing enrollment challenges. The mobility of families, the rise of minimum wage, the challenge of finding the exact family that fits your exact opening, new programs offered in the area, and the lack of bussing has added to this challenge. As partners to Head Start you are invited to reach out to your local program and better support them reaching their enrollment targets. This is increasingly important as programs that are below 97% enrollment at the end of 12 months, after implementing their enrollment improvement plan, will have Federal recommendations to reduce the program’s funding and enrollment. It is important to keep the funds where the children are, so if there is a continued need in your community be sure to support your program in reaching their enrollment targets.

Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

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I’m healthy! / ¡Soy sano!: Health care access program for immigrant children


I am writing from the Oregon Health Authority to share important information about a health care access program for immigrant children, which ends December 31, 2017.


The program is called I’m healthy! (¡Soy sano! in Spanish). It connects immigrant children to free primary and preventive health care services across our partner clinic network here in Oregon.


Children who qualify for I’m healthy! are:

  • Ineligible for full Oregon Health Plan benefits through the Oregon Health Authority and Qualified Health Plans through Oregon’s Health Insurance Marketplace and
  • Under 19 years-old.


There’s a statewide network of I’m healthy! partners across Oregon–clinics and community-based organizations–that can help families connect to the program. You can find the directory of I’m healthy! partners and additional information at Because this is a statewide program, children can access care at any of our I’m healthy! partner clinics, regardless of where they reside. We know transportation can be a barrier to care, so some of our partners offer transportation support. Be sure to ask about this when contacting them.


I would love your partnership in helping to share information about I’m healthy! with your immigrant children and their parents. I have attached a flyer for your distribution. Additionally, please let me know if there is an opportunity to share information through local newsletters, early learning hub meetings, etc.


While I’m healthy! ends on December 31, 2017, the good news is that it will transition to the Cover All Kids program come January 1, 2018. We will be sharing information about Cover All Kids in the months ahead. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Thank you for your time and consideration!



Josie Silverman-Méndez, Oregon Health Authority


Collaboration Office Corner September 2017

Serving children furthest from opportunity is a tenant of Head Start. Our goal is to understand our communities, learn where the greatest needs and barriers exist for young children, and then work with their families to address those needs and give them a head start in school and in life. What do we mean by children furthest from opportunity? The beautiful thing about that terminology is that it can mean a different thing in every community. Embedded in our Performance Standards is the priority for children in poverty, children with disabilities, children who are without homes, and children in the Foster Care System. Our children of color and English language learners are definitely furthest from opportunity, and our rural and frontier families are also a far stretch from opportunity. Head Start programs also work with their parent driven Policy Councils to set areas of priorities for specific populations in their community that they feel are furthest from opportunity; teen parents, single parents, grandparents caring for grandchildren, and so on.

Follow this link for a document that contains links for data on and information to support many of these populations that Head Start serves:

As the school year begins, and each of these children and their families join with our important work, I hope everyone who works in Head Start will take the time to set an intention to care for yourself while doing this important work. In doing this work the staff are the change agent, their ability to engage with children and families, their ability to reflect on what each child is needing; these are what will move the needle on how these families and their children succeed at school and life. In order to be that change agent, you need to care for yourself. Take a minute to review these resources on how to better at stress: or peruse this newsletter from the National Center on Health and Wellness: or one of our other resources on the Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center:


Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director