Child and Youth Success

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Child & Youth Success

Children have a strong start and a strong foundation for success in school, work and life.


Our 4 Community Impact Areas are designed to deliver positive lasting change by forging innovative partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, cultivating the best resources and inspiring action to create the change we all want to see in Gallatin, Madison, Meagher and Park Counties.

PDF of GGUW Strategic Plan for Child & Youth Success, 0-5 Years - 2018-2023  

PDF of GGUW Strategic Plan for Child & Youth Success, 5-8 Years - 2018-2023   

Impact Outcomes for Child & Youth Success

Children enter school ready to succeed, thrive in elementary school, are prepared for middle school and high school, and graduate on time.  All children:

  • are ready for kindergarten;
  • are reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade;
  • have access to affordable quality early learning environments that nurture growth among all the early childhood domains, 0-5 years; and,
  • have access to affordable, safe, nurturing and fun places during out-of-school time, 5+ years.

Impact Strategies for Child & Youth Success

  • Fund direct service programs and services focused on early literacy skills for children and their families through Imagination Library (partnership with Bozeman Noon Rotary), Thrive and City/County Home Visiting Programs, GGUW kidsLINK Afterschool Program homework, tutoring and enrichment activities, YMCA Y-Acheivers Program, Little Rangers Learning Center and more
  • Expand access to early care and learning environments that nurture growth amongst all developmental domains through our new New Care Provider Startup Fund (partner with Child Care Connections), kidsLINK Afterschool ProgramLittle Rangers Learning Center in W. Yellowstone and others
  • Establish pilot projects and act as incubator and fiscal agent for startups including New Early Child Care Provider Fund Montana Afterschool Alliance, which now operates under Rural Dynamics and others
  • Integrate and partner with local organizations to deliver enrichment activities, including STEM, food and nutrition events through Gallatin Valley Farm to School, book and tech clubs and social/emotional learning into kidsLINK Afterschool Program and other community programs
  • Actively participate and/or convene and lead collective impact coalitions that focus on behavioral health and well-being for children and families through Gallatn Early Childhood Community Council, MT Project Launch Initiative (MT-PLI), Elevate Montana, and The Resilience Project (Spring workshops on ACE awareness, trauma informed, self-care and reslilience practices) 
  • Fund key partners and programs providing adult mentors and programs including Thrive, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Park & Sweet Grass Counties, Community Health Partners, GGUW kidsLINK Afterschool, HRDC Youth Transitional Housing, Women In Action Big Sky, and more
  • Perform education/advocacy/community outreach to the community that support early learning and school success
  • Ensure ALL students have access to enriching out-of-school time programs including kidsLINK Afterschool Program  
  • Deliver training and professional development opportunities to parents and care-givers on ACEs, Trauma-Informed Care and establish familiarity with the Help Center / 2-1-1 Crisis and Resource Referral 24/7 Call Center
  • Hold, participate and/or fund community events, such as Week of the Young Child, Annual Child Care Fair, Bike Rodeos and more
  • Promote volunteerism by delivering to engage individuals and teams to give their time and talent to deliver educational activities (literacy kits, reading mentors , etc.)


  • Our community has a 41% shortage in licensed child care with one to two year wait lists for child care.
  • 37% of children entering kindergarten in Bozeman School District #7 eight elementary schools are not ready to learn based on 2015-16 K Assessment and that number remains consistent for reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.  
  • From 0 - 3 years, we go through unparalleled growth with trillions of brain cell connections made.
  • MT ranks 47 out of 50 states for Health (Indicators: low-birth weight, children without health insurance, child and teen deaths, teen alcohol and drug abuse).
  • MT ranks 18 for Economic Well-Being (Indicators:  children living in poverty - 2 adults & 2 children with annual income below $24,036, children whose parents lack secure employment, children living in high housing cost burden - 30% or more of monthly household pretax income).
  • MT ranks 18 for Education (Indicators:  children ages 3 to 4 not in school, 4th graders not proficient in reading, 8th graders not proficient in math, high school students not graduating on-time).
  • MT ranks 14th for Family and Community.  Indicators include children in single parent families; children in families where head of household lacks high school diploma, and; children living in high-poverty areas, and teen births.
  • The average cost of child care for a four-year old is $7,900/year and $9,000/year for infant care.  In MT, child care is the largest expense for families with median incomes.
  • MT ranks 47th for children living apart from their parents (in foster care). There has been a 130% increase in foster care placements and 60% are due to drug and alcohol abuse/addiction.
  • Health and development are directly influenced by the quality of care and experiences a child has with his parents and other adults.
  • 1 in 6 children who are not reading proficiently in 3rd grade do not graduate from high school on time.
  • Overall, 22% of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate from high school, compared to 6% of those who have never been poor.

Factors that contribute to third grade reading proficiency:

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

School readiness

Research continues to show that fewer children from low-income families (less than half) are ready for school at kindergarten entry, compared to three-quarters of children from families with moderate or high incomes. For children from low-income families, preschool attendance is one of the strongest factors in school readiness; attending a high-quality early childhood program also predicts higher levels of achievement at age 11. A follow-up study of the Abecedarian Project found that by age 30, participants were four times more likely to obtain a college degree than nonparticipants. Entering school ready to learn can improve one’s chances of reaching middle-class status by age 40. And a study of the Child-Parent Center program found a long-term return to society of $8.24 for every dollar invested during the first four to six years of school, including prekindergarten.

School attendance

A report by Johns Hopkins University researchers suggested that the national rate of chronic absenteeism is 10 to 15 percent, meaning that 5 million to 7.5 million students miss at least 10 percent of their school days every year. The premise that schools fail to detect high levels of chronic absence because of data issues was confirmed by a study conducted jointly by the Child and Family Policy Center and Attendance Works. Other studies confirmed that chronic absence has a negative effect on students’ academic performance and cognitive development, especially for children from low-income families, and several new reports and evaluations measured the quality and effectiveness of chronic absence interventions.

Summer learning

Studies of summer learning programs in several different contexts all confirmed that high-quality summer programs can disrupt learning loss. Research on children from low-income families also offered new evidence that having access to books can ameliorate the summer learning slide and significantly improve scores on state reading assessments; the largest effects were for the most economically disadvantaged children.

Family support

Research published right before Early Warning helped explain how environmental factors like hunger, housing insecurity, parental depression and abuse influence the epigenome (the human “operating system”), making it more likely that specific genes will or will not be expressed. Other new research draws a link between the stress of poverty, hormonal changes and impaired learning ability. However, new research reveals that even after the epigenome has been modified by extreme childhood stress, the damage may be reversed. Furthermore, positive social-emotional experiences for young children, along with supportive family and community environments, reduce the likelihood of negative modifications to the epigenome that might impair learning.

Early Warning Signs - Full Article

Literacy Kit Distribution Form