skip to Main Content

October Newsletter

Want to know what ICS is up to? See this newsletter the way it is meant to be seen – direct to your inbox! Subscribe here for monthly updates.

Childhood, Unplugged

Snake skins. An adventure course. Digging in the dirt. This was not your typical networking event.

ICS, in partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado and the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, was thrilled to welcome over 100 attendees to Childhood, Unplugged in Denver last month.

Attendees heard from keynote speaker Dr. Yuko Munakata of CU Boulder, who spoke about the power of free play for children.

A panel discussion followed on program, community, and policy opportunities for incorporating play and outdoor learning, which included:


  • Sarah Konradi, Program Director, National Wildlife Federation Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) Initiative
  • Mary Mackenzie, ICS Senior Fellow
  • Justin Svingen, Planner, Public Health Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin

We would like to thank all those who spent their evening with us, as well as the partners and organizations who contributed their staff, energy, and expertise to the event. You can find more resources, including a list of exhibitors, here, or download our recommended resource list for further reading. And if you’re on the East Coast, stay tuned! We’re looking to bring the event closer to home next year.

We were also delighted to host an intimate professional development session for Colorado educators while in town, run by ICS’s Senior Fellow Mary Mackenzie on bringing outdoor learning to their classrooms. Materials from this session, including what we can learn from the UK’s “forest schools” are available online.

New Resources

Medical-Legal Partnerships and Child Development

Medical-Legal Partnerships foster immediate and long-term health for families while removing legal barriers to supporting healthy child development and healthy families. Our new paper outlines the structure, services, and outcomes of MLPs; explores the growth and utilization of MLPs in South Carolina; and highlights the impact of social determinants of health on child development.

Co-authored by Keller Anne Ruble (ICS’s Associate Director of Policy Research), Kirby Mitchell (senior litigation attorney at South Carolina Legal Services), and Dr. Kerry Sease (Medical Director for Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy), you can read the full paper here and get a crashcourse on the model on our blog. The paper has also been featured in the newsletter of the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership.

Pay for Success Feasibility Study Highlights

What could be the impact on children and families in Oklahoma City if more caregivers with substance abuse issues and their children in out-of-home placement accessed needed trauma-informed evidence-based services for a successful and lasting reunification?

What if we provided expanded access to quality services for children and families in Tallahassee’s most under-resourced census tracts – services such as prenatal and maternal healthcare, childcare, and early learning?

For 10 months, ICS partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Tallahassee’s Office of the Mayor, and the Office of Representative Loranne Ausley to conduct feasibility studies that focused on Pay for Success as the potential tool for impact. We published our findings online this summer. In each case, we found that a PFS project – though not an immediate option – could very well be a tool that yields vastly improved outcomes for children in the future. Both Oklahoma and Tallahassee are making great strides to ensure that poverty and substance use do not remain barriers to access and the success of young children. For more details on findings, read the full PFS feasibility study highlights here for Oklahoma City and Tallahassee.

Upcoming Events

Creativity Connects Denver, October 18:

Join us at the Denver Performing Arts Center for a one-day symposium on early arts integration co-hosted with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts. ICS Senior Fellow Dr. Janice Gruendel will serve as keynote, bringing a focus to brain science and two-generation opportunities. Attendees can also look forward to a panel discussion moderated by Jane R. Best, Ph.D., Director of Arts Education Partnership. Register now to secure your free spot! Can’t join in person? Join our Facebook event to livestream the morning sessions!

Learn more about the Creativity Connects initiative in a new ICS/Wolf Trap guest blog for the Arts Education Partnership.

Save the Date! Research & Implementation Symposium at Nurturing Developing Minds, February 28-March 1, 2019

ICS will once again partner with Greenville Health System to host our Research & Implementation Symposium at the Nurturing Developing Mind Conference, in Greenville, South Carolina. More information, including registration and our Call for Proposals, will be coming soon!

Recent Presentations & Media

Toddler Talk & Tween Outcomes: ICS Director of Policy Research Megan Carolan guest blogged on the new longitudinal study from LENA which links certain conversational engagement with toddlers to long-term impacts for child development. Exploring impacts for both systems and individuals, the blog can be found here.

Building Resilience: ICS Senior Fellow Janice Gruendel served as a keynote speaker at 2018 Champions for Young Children Symposium in Columbia last month, speaking on on From Toxic Stress to Health, Hope and 

Resilience: What’s in Your Backpack? Slides from this session, as well as a breakout session on “baby bundle” approaches, are available our website.

Dr. Gruendel has also collaborated with the Institute for Emerging Issues Kids Count initiative in North Carolina to develop training resources related to adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed care, which are available online.

How South Carolina Children Succeed: Amanda McDougald Scott, Research Associate, was interviewed by the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network in South Carolina. See the archived interview here – featuring kitten Madeline, who couldn’t resist the spotlight!

Ages & Stages: Director of Policy Research Megan Carolan was a contributing source to this column in Parents magazine’s back to school issue, discussing ways to foster early literacy, math, and social-emotional development.

Building Literacy in the Face of Trauma: Dr. Gruendel recently participated in a panel discussion with Reach Out and Read Carolinas alongside practitioners and stakeholders on families facing trauma and toxic stress. You can listen to the full discussion here.

Extended Family in Education: Megan Carolan presented at the National Conference for Family Learning on opportunities for classroom practices to meaningfully engage all adults in a child’s life, including grandparents and other relatives. You can view her slides here

ICS Team Updates

ICS is proud to announce the newest member of our Board of Directors, Jennifer Harrill. Jennifer is the Vice President of Impact at the United Way of Greenville County. Jennifer brings true passion and commitment to our work, and we look forward to her new leadership role with ICS!
Keller Anne Ruble
Keller Anne Ruble, ICS’s Associate Director for Policy Research, has transitioned to a new role with Gary Community Investments, a philanthropic funder focused on early childhood in Colorado. Since 2016, Keller Anne has brought her energy, expertise, and creativity to our work, specializing in fiscal policy and health equity. While we will miss her presence, we wish her the best on her new adventure!
Since July, Sean Rusnak has been working with ICS through a baccalaureate fellowship with ICS, Furman University, Piedmont Health Foundation, and Livewell Greenville. We are delighted to welcome his expertise on public health.
Megan Carolan

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Back To Top