We collectively work to strengthen families so all children are safe, healthy, and thriving. We embrace a strengths-based approach in guiding families to build meaningful, supportive connections within their own homes and their community network.
End Child Abuse and Neglect
We collectively work to end child abuse and neglect, and reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences. Our cross-sector partnership collaborates to create structural change effecting all levels of prevention and to provide community education to increase awareness and understanding.
Adverse Childhood Experiences Facilitators
We work towards building community knowledge of the lifelong impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by offering community education focused on the ACEs study, brain science, and resiliency. Several trainers are available throughout the Mat-Su Borough and free trainings can be scheduled for large or small groups by contacting the R.O.C.K. Mat-Su staff. This is a primary prevention strategy.
Our goal is to improve understanding of intergenerational trauma and systemic racism, and respond by contributing to improvements through the promotion of systems-level change. To build a foundation, we have offered trainings in partnership with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and First Alaskans Institute, and are in the process of developing a racial equity curriculum specific to the Matanuska Susitna Valley. This is a primary prevention strategy.
We support community-driven solutions for family issues by providing support for community organizing efforts in the rural areas of the borough. Previous efforts have included hosting parent cafés, localized workgroups in the rural areas of the borough, and parent leadership training. This is a primary prevention strategy.
Establish Relationships with Policymakers
R.O.C.K. Mat-Su partners align around coordinated engagement with policymakers and other stakeholders to promote systems-level change that aligns with the collective’s common goals of strengthening families and ending child abuse and neglect.
Family Contact Improvements
With the help of Butler Institute for Families, we are working to optimize family contact visits between children and parents, as quality family contact visits are a key indicator of potential for family reunification. The Family Contact Best Practices Guide for Professionals was released in September 2019, followed by the first phase of training for professionals. This is a tertiary prevention strategy. Learn more…
Family Events in Community Spaces
We support relationships that families build with one another, as these intergenerational connections strengthen the social fabric and health of our communities. We contribute to relationship building by hosting several family-friendly events each year, including an annual community baby shower that welcomes Mat-Su’s newest residents and dance parties for all ages. This is a primary prevention strategy.
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Formal Response to Screened Out Reports of Harm
In order to move prevention efforts upstream, we are working to establish a voluntary support system for at-risk families identified through child maltreatment reports that have been screened out by the Office of Children Service’s process. The Building Family Futures pilot program model has been prepared and fact finding is underway in regards to changing relevant policy. This is a secondary prevention strategy.
Improve recruitment and retention of quality workers at OCS
Our partners support the Office of Children Services (OCS) workers by routinely hosting Building Community Connections events, in an effort to support continuous quality improvements. The events bring OCS workers and community agencies together to engage in networking, supportive activities, and skill building. This is a secondary and tertiary prevention strategy.
Increase Access to Substance Abuse Treatment and Behavioral Health Services
In a response to a growing need for early childhood mental health services, we joined a collaborative effort to bring Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) training to Alaska. CPP is an evidence-based clinical model for treating 0-5 year olds who have experienced traumatic events or are experiencing difficulties with attachment or behavioral health. This is a tertiary prevention strategy.
Palmer FIT Court
We provide support for the Palmer Families with INfants and Toddlers (FIT) Court, which began implementing the therapeutic Safe Babies Court model developed by Zero to Three in early 2018. The FIT Court serves up to 12 families at any given time, with the goal of establishing permanency within 12 months for children by providing high-quality supports for families. This is a tertiary prevention strategy.
Palmer FIT Court Brochure
Promote Developmental Health
The Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) collaborative for the Mat-Su Borough is R.O.C.K. Mat-Su. Our ECCS work embraces partnerships and practices that promote parent/caregiver knowledge of developmental milestones, access to developmental screening, and improved coordination of referrals. This is a primary prevention strategy.
We strengthen the social fabric of our community by connecting families to events, services, and other opportunities that build community connection and strengthen interpersonal relationships. A borough-wide, family-friendly list of events is updated and broadcast monthly, and our Social Connections Coordinator engages with families directly at community events. This is a primary prevention service.
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Stewards of Children Trainings
We have responded to a local need to address child sexual abuse prevention by adopting the Stewards of Children® two-hour training developed by Darkness to Light. Several trainers are available throughout the Mat-Su Borough and free trainings can be scheduled for large or small groups by contacting the R.O.C.K. Mat-Su staff. This is a primary prevention strategy.
Trauma-Informed Community Organizations
The National Council for Behavioral Health has partnered with us to train and support two year-long learning cohorts in the Mat-Su. Each cohort has been provided with on-going training, resources, and coaching to support the development of a more trauma-informed approach. This is a secondary prevention strategy.
The National Council for Behavioral Health has partnered with the Matanuska Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) and R.O.C.K. Mat-Su to train and support three year-long learning cohorts in the Mat-Su. Thirty MSBSD schools have been provided with on-going training, resources, and coaching to support development of a more trauma-sensitive approach. This is a secondary prevention strategy.
Universal Screenings for ACEs
We promote the use of universal screenings for adverse childhood experiences in health care settings, by partnering with local providers to offer educational opportunities focused on the value of screening, best practices, and quality improvement. This is a primary prevention strategy.
We provide support to Youth 360, an initiative that connects local youth to their peers, parents, and community to increase well-being. The model is currently being implemented at two pilot sites in Houston and Wasilla and is based on the Iceland Prevention Model, which has achieved drastic reductions in youth substance use. This is a primary prevention strategy.
Youth Leadership Council
As understanding the perspective of local youth is a priority for us, the Youth Leadership Council was established as an advisory to our Steering Committee. The council meets regularly to develop leadership skills with peers and adults, and is developing operational guidelines to establish how their youth perspective will contribute to the strategies of the collective partnership. This is a primary prevention strategy.