The Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area (ECC) is committed to the well-being of young children and their families in our region. We are a group of community partners working together to support children from before birth to the age of 8 and the caring adults who will help them get ready for learning and life.

ECC Introduction Sheet

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What We Do

The ECC brings people together to dialogue, plan, strategize and collaborate to create community systems that support healthy early childhood growth and development. We believe that by working closely with community members in the Greater Helena Area and with similar organizations around Montana to identify needs, build partnerships, and strengthen services, more children and families can be ready to thrive.

Our Vision

Safe, stable, nurturing relationships lead to resilient children, strong families, and stable communities.

Our Mission

With the focus on the whole child, we promote community collaboration to network resources and streamline services in support of the health, safety, care and education for children from before birth to age 8 and their families in the Greater Helena Area.

Our Core Principals

  1. Positive: In trusting and affirming others, we have hope for the future and celebrate!
  2. Present: Celebrate and learn from the past, anticipate the future, live now!
  3. Perceptive: With open-mindedness and humility, we develop a higher level of awareness.
  4. Purposeful: Through meaningful and intentional service, we build a future for our community.
  5. Perfected: With humility and courage, we engage in the continuous progress toward transformation.
  6. Proactive: Action and leadership with intent promotes a new vision.

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Learn More & Get Involved

You can take part in a one-time or short-term project or join a work group to guide longer-term efforts.

Advocacy — This committee takes action at both the local and state levels. We engage local lawmakers and mobilize with other early childhood coalitions around the state (through the leadership of Health Mothers Healthy Babies) on issues of common importance. The goal? To improve the understanding of and support for high quality early care and education for all.

Early Care and Education — This committee works to build partnerships between Preschool / Child Care providers and Kindergarten teachers, as well as bring public awareness to the positive effects that high quality early education brings to the development of children.

Home Visiting Task Force (Family Health and Support) — This task force strategically coordinates home visiting services and connects families with the services that best fit their needs. The task force will meet these goals through collectively educating and recruiting parents/guardians in our community and coordinating mindful transitions with families as their needs change.

Maternal Mental Health Coalition (Family Health and Support) — With broad representation across the spectrum of care and support for women in the perinatal period (pregnancy to 1-year postpartum), the coalition works with community organizations to implement a peer-to-peer parent support group, create a postpartum resource guide, and work with providers to increase screening and support for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) in new parents to ensure that if necessary, they are able to link to and access available services and treatment.

Stay Informed

Check out our organizational documents to get up to speed.

General Membership Meeting Notes – 2017

Connect with us on Facebook.

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Mapping Our Early Childhood Ecosystem


In May and June 2017, the ECC mapped our local early childhood “ecosystem,” identifying (from prenatal to Kindergarten entry) what exists in our community to support families and kids, where the system is breaking down, and what’s missing that could make the system work more effectively. We recognize that our map is limited by the perspectives of those present at the exercise, and we invite others to participate. E-mail us today!



Partner Network

Members of the Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area include local non-profit organizations, child care providers and educators, members of the business community, healthcare agencies, local government, and more.

Leadership Team

Andrea Holmes — Director of Strategic Growth & Programs, Florence Crittenton Home and Services
Ashley Peña-Larsen — Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Development Council (RMDC) Head Start
Brandi Thomas — Provider Services, Helena Professional Development Coordinator, Child Care Connections
Brie Oliver — Executive Director, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies
Chelsea Segrest, Chair
Drenda Niemann — Community Health Promotion, Lewis and Clark Public Health
Jaymie Sheldahl — Manager, Family Advocate Program, RMDC Head Start
Teri Lilletvedt — Helena Program Manager, Family Outreach
Trina Filan, Ph.D. — ECC Coordinator and Community Impact Coordinator, United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area

Coalition Participants

Child Care Connections
Creative Horizons
Department of Health and Human Services
East Helena School District No. 9 staff
Elevate Montana Helena Affiliate
Family Outreach
Family Promise of Greater Helena
Florence Crittenton Home and Services
Halliday and Associates
Head Start — Rocky Mountain Development Council
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies
Helena Food Share
Helena School District No. 1 staff
Joining Community Forces Family and Youth Key Service Area
Lewis and Clark County
Lewis and Clark Kids Hunger Coalition
Lewis and Clark Public Library
Lewis and Clark Public Health
Montana Association for the Education of Young Children — Helena Chapter
Montana No Kid Hungry
Pumpkin Patch Early Learning Center
Rocky Mountain Pre-School
St. Peter’s Hospital
United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area
Valley Bank of Helena
Youth Connections Coalition

We welcome anyone interested in joining this work! We meet on the second Monday of every month (except July and August) at Ray Bjork Learning Center, Room 6, from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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