First Chance Delaware: It’s About the Children

Faculty from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences are playing a key role in First Chance Delaware, an initiative by Tracey Quillen Carney, the First State’s first lady, to help children.

Dr. Debra Berke (L) and Dr. Rebecca Ghabour

Drs. Rebecca Ghabour and Debra Berke were invited to Woodburn, the governor’s mansion in Dover, to share insights and ideas with representatives from throughout the state in higher education, social services, government and nonprofit agencies.

“It was a great opportunity for everyone in the room to report on what they are doing, and how we can coordinate efforts and work together instead of staying in our silos,” Dr. Ghabour said.

First Chance Delaware is dedicated to helping children succeed through a three-pronged strategy: giving all children access to nutritious food; promoting learning readiness; and recognizing and responding to the impact of adverse childhood experiences.

“We focused on childhood adversity from birth to age 3,” Dr. Ghabour said. That might include such experiences as growing up with parents who are ill or addicted, or in a community where there is violence.

She and Dr. Berke hosted a webinar for the National Council on Family Relations on Trauma-Informed Teaching and Learning Practices in January. Dr. Ghabour said families can benefit from such interventions as supporting parents through home visits and training provided at their primary care provider’s office.

First Chance Delaware establishes a foundation for thought leaders throughout the state to build on.

“It was encouraging and uplifting to be in a group who are passionate about making a difference for children,” Dr. Ghabour said.