Village’s Family Navigators to Assist Families in Cradle to Career Initiative To Improve Academic Success for North Hartford Promise Zone Students

The Village for Families & Children is joining forces with community leaders, local care providers, city officials and community-based organizations in a new initiative to provide Hartford children and their families with the supports they need to reach their full potential.

The initiative, known as the North Hartford Ascend Pipeline (Ascend), is a “cradle to career” effort to help families in North Hartford—Hartford’s Promise Zone—by boosting their access to supportive, critical resources. Ascend is led by Connecticut Children’s under a five-year, $30 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods Program. As the grant recipient, Connecticut Children’s will create a comprehensive and integrated network that includes public, private, and philanthropic sectors and ensures universal access to community-based programs and services. Partners, including the Village, will work to integrate achievement-oriented schools and evidence-based social and community services.

“The North End has a number of existing assets and resources to support students and their families,” said Village President & CEO Galo Rodriguez. “As part of Ascend, The Village will help strengthen the existing network and maximize families’ access to support, which is especially crucial as COVID-19 continues to have an impact on children’s mental health.”

One of The Village’s primary focuses is the Family Navigation System (FNS) that will assist families in coordinating an array of services available across providers in the North End and bolster collaboration and communication among partners.

A key component of Ascend, the FNS will include new coordinator positions—staff who teach, mentor and collaborate with students, their families and community members to work through barriers preventing children from succeeding in school. The Village will engage qualified candidates with ties to the North Hartford community, such as school personnel and current residents.

The Village will also leverage its established behavioral health and school-based services, ensuring North End families have access to supports to meet their individual needs. The initiative will help families address challenges that have been created or compounded by COVID-19, including access to basic needs, linkages to healthcare, tutoring and academic support, enrichment and pro-social activities, parent education and more. The Village’s Spring Street Family Center and Financial Opportunity Center will play a key role in providing these supports.

Connecticut Children’s is one of seven grantees across the country awarded a Promise Neighborhoods grant in this latest round of funding. The grant period began on January 1, 2022.