What is PA Project LAUNCH?

LAUNCH stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health

A 5-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Implemented by OMHSAS Children’s Bureau, the Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with OCDEL

The main goals are to support young children’s healthy physical, social, emotional and cognitive development, to help strengthen families, and promote parent-child interactions that support healthy development.

Strategies are piloted in Allegheny County in collaboration with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services are targeting the school districts of Pittsburgh, Baldwin-Whitehall, and Woodland Hill communities.

Successes will be shared with all Pennsylvania counties to support encourage statewide expansion.


Project LAUNCH’s Five Prevention and Promotion Strategies

Project LAUNCH is a PREVENTION and PROMOTION grant that focuses the systems that serve young children, from conception to age 8, and their families with the expectation of state partnerships and increased capacity within systems to provide evidence-based services around these strategies:

  1. Screening and assessment in a range of child-serving settings
  2. Integration of behavioral health into primary care settings
  3. Mental health consultation in early childhood education
  4. Enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being
  5. Family strengthening and parent skills training


Young Child Wellness Councils

There are two groups of stakeholders that are driving the implementation of PA Project LAUNCH, a State and Local Young Child Wellness Council (YCWC).  Both councils are comprised of family members, leaders from early care and education, health, mental health and family support programs, who will work together toward comprehensive, systemic goals to meet the needs of children, parents, and providers.  The Early Learning Council is now serving as the State YCWC for the remainder of the grant project.  The state level strategies focus on policies, financial mechanisms, and other reforms to improve the integration and efficiency of the child-serving system.  The Local YCWC focuses primarily on improving collaboration across the programs and services that serve children and families in Allegheny County as well as improving access to prevention services and wellness promotion activities.


PA Project LAUNCH Partnership Resources

Additional Resources: The resources below were created or curated by the PA Project LAUNCH team and stakeholders to support additional communities in “linking actions for unmet children’s health”:

Family Strengthening
Physical/Behavioral Health Integration
Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH)
Enhanced Home Visiting


PA Project LAUNCH Key Deliverables

Environmental Scan: A first step in the LAUNCH process was to conduct an environmental scan to identify current strengths and challenges/barriers to providing such services. The PA Project LAUNCH Partnership contracted with the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development to conduct this scan in consultation with the Commonwealth and Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the Allegheny County Health Department, and their consultants.

Strategic Plans:  The use of a comprehensive strategic plan has enabled PA Project LAUNCH to build on and improve current services, as well as coordinate the many systems that serve young children in the local pilot community.  The strategic plan has continued to inform the enhancement of the evaluation plan, ensured the evaluation addresses the extent to which progress has been made in (1) implementing the strategies outlined in the strategic plan and (2) achieving the intended outcomes of the project.

Annual Evaluation Reports: The Evaluation Reports general purpose is to describe the process of implementation and the outcomes of such activities as they pertain to the grant’s goal areas.  The reports follow the framework of the Strategic Plan, updated bi-annually, and includes progress on the project’s objectives, activities, indicators/measurements, and short- and long-term process and outcome questions being addressed.

For more information on PA Project LAUNCH, please contact Brandy Fox, PA Project LAUNCH Coordinator at brafox@pakeys.org or Kimberly Eckel, Local Coordinator at Kimberly.Eckel@AlleghenyCounty.us