Success by Six
 Example: Springfield Area Success by Six
An early childhood initiative that encompasses such activities as parent education workshops, classes, playgroups, welcome baby visits and bags to all families with newborns, parent scholarships for parenting workshops, parent groups, home visiting, and family 'fun' programs.

Explained by Con Hogan
Gov. Richard Snelling appointed Hogan Secretary of the Agency of Human Services in 1991; after Snelling died suddenly, Gov. Dean asked Hogan to continue in the position, which he did until October 1999.  Hogan is an Independent candidate for governor in 2002.

"We actually stole the name; it was a United Way program they had out there [in Minneapolis, Minnesota]...  We felt we needed to find a way to have people out in our communities begin to work together--both educators and people in human services and community collaboratives--to begin to work together on behalf of kids before they got to school, and those words [Success by Six] everybody believes they know what it means, which means that everybody believes they know how to contribute to it.  And those words began a real change in the way we were organized in Vermont on behalf of children."

Q. It's very localized?

"Yes, exactly.  What we wanted to do was move it out of the central agencies and engage people who've never been involved in that kind of a process before.  So as a result over time we created local teams, and they all look different in different places, depending on who wants to play, and then we would begin to systematically offer them some generic resources that they could apply in their own strategic ways around some of the outcomes that we established, and the outcomes were very straightforward: All babies are born healthy; all children are ready for school; children succeed in school.  And we worked our way right up the developmental ladder over the years and created a set of outcomes that people could understand.  They weren't these fancily named programs with two-page mission statements; they were: all babies are born healthy--, and when you are able to use that kind of language and community, that's what the Success by Six led us to.  It was the creation of the collaboratives, it was the beginning of spreading some of the resources out, it was the beginning of getting people in the same room, who each had pots of money, to work together on behalf of the families...

"But it wasn't the process and the structure that really took root; it was the results.  As a result of that work, we ended up with over 90 percent of all newborns receiving early baby visits from those Success by Six local collaboratives.  We were able to lower  the lead levels in babies' brains in one half as a result of those visits.  We were able to reduce teen pregnancies, we were always low, but they plunged at a rate much quicker than the in the rest of the nation, to the lowest in the nation.  And we were able to reduce child sexual abuses, the worst kind, in 0 to 3, by 60 percent.  I mean these were the results of that way of thinking.  Because if you're abused, you're not going to make it in school.  So that way of thinking and then engage in the local communities, that work is really what the excitement of those years was all about, and Howard Dean saw it, promoted it, pushed us, and really made it possible for a bureaucracy as big as the one I was running to be able to change in those kinds of directions."

Excerpts from "Vermont's Success by Six Initiative Annual Report, January 2002"
"The are fourteen (14) community and regionally based projects funded through grants to local organizations and groups...  Projects typically have local and/or regional boards including parents, community members, educators and service providers."

"A total of 29,455 children and 31,987 parents were served through the Success By Six Community Projects this year.  The total cost for those services was $1,437,858 for an average cost per child of $48.82."

Success by Six Overview
Children Served
Note. Most of the money is budgeted through the Agency of Health Services, and some goes through Education; in addition, for the first four years there were some federal funds through Drug Free Schools and Communities.


Outcome:  Families, youth and citizens are part of their community's planning, decision making and evaluation.

Outcome:  Pregnant women and newborns thrive.

Outcome:  Infants and children thrive.

Outcome:  Children are ready for school.

Outcome:  Children live in stable, supported families.


Copyright © 2002  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action