Whole Child Initiative

Our Overarching Goal

The Whole Child Initiative has the overarching goal of improving health, education, and human service outcomes for children and their families across the developmental continuum from pre-pregnancy, prenatal, and perinatal through early childhood, into kindergarten and through the 3rd grade. The Whole Child Initiative is designed to strategically address goals at the child, family, community and systems levels.

Nonprofit Childhood Education in Rochester, NY │ROC the Future Alliance
Nonprofit Childhood Education in Rochester, NY │ROC the Future Alliance

Our child, family, and community goals include:

  • Children and families receive services and support to meet universal and identified needs; they are healthy, thriving, and meeting and maintaining their fullest developmental potential.
  • Children and families live in safe, stable, healthy, and nurturing families, neighborhoods and communities.
  • Children are prioritized and the whole community acts to support their health, safety, learning, and well-being.
  • Systems work for families and families are economically stable.

Current Conditions

The WCI was born from the reality that young children and their families are not a priority in the United States, New York State, or the Rochester community. The lack of public investment and coherent policies has resulted in poor child outcomes, generation after generation.

The WCI believes that it does not have to be this way. Many other states and communities do better. Rochester’s poor national ranking in terms of child poverty and academic performance persists as the systems established to attend to health, education, social services and economic security of children and their families are inadequate. Parents and family members, who are experts in knowing the processes that are working and the areas that need overhaul have been left out of decision-making spaces, which has specifically contributed to these failures.

Building Parent/Family
Partner Power

Our theme for 2023 is Building Parent/Family Partner Power. This year, we are being more intentional about the way we engage parents by centering parent voice.

A key principle and value in our work is authentic and transformative parent/family engagement and leadership, with a focus on racial equity. Our distributed leadership model guarantees parents have a seat at the table, with 50% Parent/Family Partners and 50% System Partners driving the WCI.

The WCI provides Parent/Family Partners with all the tools they need to lead our mission, including training, professional development, and technology.

Nonprofit Childhood Education in Rochester, NY │ROC the Future Alliance

Collective Impact and
Continuous Improvement

The WCI is informed by the StriveTogether model for systems change and equitable outcomes from cradle to career. The StriveTogether framework builds an infrastructure to support equitable outcomes for every child, cradle to career. This includes bringing people together, building capabilities, codifying learning to inform work across the country, strategically investing, and advocating for changes to systems that shape opportunity.

We publicly affirm our commitment to advance systems-level approaches that disrupt structural racism and build racial equity to ensure that children receive what they need to be safe, healthy, and successful.


To become involved in the Whole Child Initiative, contact Whole Child Initiative Director, Sara White-Smith, swhitesmith@rocthefuture.org