Through their collaboration on the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations heard a call from rural communities to strengthen the mental health resources for children birth through age 5 and their families. The social-emotional education, prevention, and intervention services available in Greater Minnesota were sparse, and families with young children often did not know how to access help.
In response, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations created the Minnesota Thrive Initiative in 2007 with six Greater Minnesota pilot sites—one in each rural region. A cross-section of participants from mental health, medical, social and human services, public health, early care and education, and other professions formed local teams. Through the combined efforts of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations, Thrive teams received funding and technical assistance to map existing resources, identify needs and opportunities, facilitate dialogue and cooperation, and implement action plans.
Thrive has expanded awareness about infant and early childhood mental health, strengthened community systems, and improved the way professionals and families work together. Thrive has also resulted in greater collaboration among organizations statewide and created a “place at the table” for rural Minnesota communities to share their perspectives and advocate for the social and emotional needs of young children and their families.