As we begin 2016, I can’t help but think, “is it really possible that ELI is 17?!” We are practically a grow-up Agency! So much has changed but our core mission of serving young children, their families and our community remains solidly the same.

2016 appears that it will be a relatively quiet and calm year. Our contract programs are not up for renewal in 2016, allowing us the breathing room to focus on quality improvement and innovations. How can we do what we already do well, even better? How can we show (with data, stories, pictures and posts) what we do and the differences we make? We will remain focused on the basics of service to children and those who care for them, as well as ELI’s core values of flexibility, excellence and collaboration.

Our fee for service programs (Early Intervention and Special Service Groups) still need a rate boost (going on year 13 without an increase) – so we will continue to advocate for those changes at the State level. We will also continue our reorganization efforts and look towards adding a few services, such as translation services. And we will increase our outreach efforts, especially as the Community Health Care Clinics begin a formalized schedule of screening for developmental delays. A priority for 2016 will be to establish strong program evaluation for these services since they don’t currently have a matrix to measure success. We will continue to tweak our Preschool program, which already achieves such high levels of excellence.

Many of our 2016 goals for ELI are familiar: Strive for fiscal stability across programs; Maintain a strong, well trained workforce to meet our clients’ needs; Strengthen our community partnerships; Support inclusion of children with special needs in a variety of settings; Utilize the data we are collecting to highlight the strengths of our programs.

We’ve added a few new ones too: Launch the Healthy Families America program; Better integrate technology across programs to improve efficiency and data collection; Focus on fundraising with new and creative ideas; Improve our office technology (a new server!) and our office space (decorate the conference room!); find a new group space in Santa Rosa.

What else? I’m always asking people, “what do you need from ELI? How can we do our jobs better? Who are we not serving?” I would love to hear your ideas, goals or suggestions. If you feel like you would like to contribute to any of the above goals in a hands on way, please consider volunteering. We’d love the help.

I am optimistic (another ELI core value) about 2016. I believe that with all of us working together, it can be ELI’s best year yet!

Happy New Year,

Michele Rogers, PhD
Executive Director