There are many social services available for children and families in communities across Onslow county. Unfortunately, in many communities, resources are spread thin and unevenly. What is needed is a coordinating body, akin to air traffic control, that has deep roots in the local community, a bird’s eye view of all of the services available, and a nuanced understanding of how these services connect and cohere as a system. That’s what OCPC does for Onslow County. And just as business and industry invest in knowledge transfer and quality control, OCPC keeps its eye on research and best practice in the fields of child and adult development, embeds and disseminates new ideas across the stakeholder groups, and collaborates to improve the quality of child-serving organizations in Onslow County. OCPC is a vital part of the community’s infrastructure.
The Onslow County Partnership for Children is a large child- and family-serving organization in Onslow County. Established in 1998 to strengthen the systems of care surrounding children and families, OCPC is a public-private partnership that unites all sectors of the community toward the healthy development of its youngest citizens—and toward the future prosperity of the community as a whole. OCPC believes that when we invest wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.
Fortunately, more than two decades of groundbreaking neuroscience
have taught us how to invest in a way that will guarantee a good return.
We know, for example, that the basic architecture of the human brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. Like the construction of a home, the building process begins with laying the foundation, framing the rooms, and wiring the electrical system in a predictable sequence. Early experiences literally shape how the brain gets built; a strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes. A weak foundation increases the odds of later difficulty.
interactive influences of genes and experience shape the architecture
of the developing brain, and the active ingredient in that process is
the “serve and return” nature of children’s relationships with their
parents and other caregivers in their family and community. In other
words, young children instinctively reach out for interaction through
such behaviors as babbling, facial expressions, and words. When adults
respond in kind with responsive vocalizing and gesturing back at them,
the child’s brain can grow properly; when there is no response, the
wiring of the brain is impaired. As a result, a child’s ability to
learn and develop will be compromised in the future.
OCPC’s goal is to ensure that children’s brains are wired well from the start. We help family members and professionals respond to children in nurturing and protective ways, and help create high-quality environments of experience and relationship that facilitate healthy brain development, thereby laying the foundation for a successful future. This includes the broader context of children’s development, such as job and housing security. By helping to break down silos across the community, we work to connect the dots, maximizing the chances that all children in Onslow county will become capable contributors to our economy and civic life.