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Pritzker Family Foundation Infant-Toddler Community Forum Held Virtually

Friday Feb 12th, 2021

Pritzker Family Stakeholder Virtual Forum 

Virtual event focuses on infant-toddler issues facing families in our community

Pritzker Infant Toddler Virtual Forum 2021 2

In 2019, United Way of Erie County was selected to participate in a Pritzker Stakeholder Forum in conjunction with United Way of Pennsylvania, PA Partnerships for Children, and the Pritzker Foundation. The first forum was held in person thanks to partnerships with the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 1, Early Connections, Metz Culinary Management, and East Middle School, a community school, families received a meal, childcare provided on site and had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the supports available for families of infants and toddlers in Erie County.  The forum focused on access to children’s health and prenatal/maternal health, foundations for learning and development to support success in school, positive relationships between young children and the important adults in their lives and supporting families where all key caregivers work outside of the home.  Families had the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns with each other and the ELRC was able to glean important information to share back with UWPA, PA Partnerships for Children, and the Pritzker Foundation.  This information was then presented to key State policymakers. 

A second round of Pritzker Family Stakeholder Focus groups are being held in February 2021 in partnership with the Erie Family Center. United Way is proud to support another opportunity for families in our community to share their thoughts and concerns regarding infant and toddler issues. While we had to adapt to a new way of meeting with families, the information gathered was still so important. This round of questions is centered around how COVID-19 has affected their family. Questions focused on the overall impact of COVID-19 on family, how parents and caregivers were able to access services and supports, and what they have learned during the pandemic about themselves, their children or their family.  This information will again be shared with United Way of PA, PA Partnerships for Children, and the Pritzker Foundation. They will then share this information with key State policymakers.   

The information gathered at these forums are an important piece of the puzzle for our State. After the first forums were conducted, family feedback shaped and informed the application which led to Pennsylvania being selected for a grant to help strengthen prenatal to age 3 services for children and families. Communities across Pennsylvania are asking these same questions of their families. This information will help policymakers in our state continue the conversations surrounding what is needed for our infants and toddlers as well as how to best support the families of these children. We are all committed to ensure our families and young children have what they need to succeed in their future.