PASOs Programs - Early Childhood Initiative

What if every child had resources and support, rooted in their family and cultural strengths, that gave them an equitable chance to thrive?

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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Our Early Childhood Initiative began because of requests from parents who participated in PASOs' maternal and child health programs and developed trust in the organization. Parents wanted to know more about how to be the best parents they could, what they could do to support their children's development, and ways to put into practice their cultural strengths in their new environment. Around the same time, early childhood organizational partners reached out to us because, with the data showing that this population was the fastest growing in the state, they wanted to find ways to support young Latino children, but needed someone to help them better understand this new population's needs and realities, and to gain the trust of Latino families. PASOs realized we could be an essential partner in efforts to support Latino families and their young children by building on the strengths that the families brought forward, and building bridges between them and early childhood support systems.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)


Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • South Carolina

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]


Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • South Carolina

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Our organizational capacity building impacts the whole state of South Carolina. Our community-based early childhood programs (Connections for Child Development, Pediatric Clinical Bridge Program, Early Childhood Literacy Program and Childhood Obesity Prevention, PASOs for Parents) are focused currently in: Richland, Lexington, Beaufort, Greenville, Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Currently 11% of SC children under the age of five is Latino and in some counties over 25% of children under five are Latino. Yet, because of the relative newness of this population and capacity shortfalls, many families are not connected to the early childhood supports they need for their young children to thrive. The most imminent early childhood disparities and gaps among Latino children that were identified as part of a statewide needs assessment include: 1) Access and help navigating resources for early childhood development, 2) Developmental screening and referrals, 3) Kindergarten readiness, including literacy, and 4) Childcare quality. Our change model includes both community interventions delivered through Latino leaders, and systemic changes to improve the cultural and linguistic capacity of early childhood programs and organizations to better serve Latino children.

Young children deserve to have equal opportunity and supports for optimal and holistic development that will increase their chance at life-long success. Working directly with parents on the importance of their role as a child's first teachers, and providing them support based on their familial and cultural strengths is key in giving them a more equitable chance to thrive. Through our work with parents who may not have all the resources and supports they need and want but who have many assets to offer their children, we can positively influence the home environment of a child, which can provide them a strong sense of self, purpose, and belonging through relationships built in the home. However, this is oftentimes not enough. PASOs' initiative also focuses on building the capacity of teachers, nurses, home visitors, social workers and community health workers (promotores) to effectively reach and work with at-risk Latino families. We are a bridge that  through education, and connection to resources, helps parents support their children. We are also the advocates that improve service providers' ability to understand and reach Latino children and families so that through systemic changes, the bridge is wider, stronger, and more sustainable.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income communities
  • Other

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Education
  • Other

If you chose "other," please share the sector you work within here:

Other- a newly settled first-generation immigrant population Other- health; child development

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Ms. Garcia was focusing much of her energy to support her son that had special needs, and had missed signs that her other daughter also had developmental delays. One of our Promotoras sat with her to help her assess her daughter through the ASQ-3 tool, and she realized her daughter also needed supports. The Promotora helped give her confidence that she could absolutely handle this new challenge, and connected her to resources for her daughter. In our parallel work with service providers, we helped a home visiting program that wasn't serving any Latino families learn how to reach them. We have been instrumental in helping programs create protocols and policies that support Latino families and hire bilingual/bi-cultural providers.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

188 community-based ASQ-3s screenings conducted 33 referrals completed as a result of the ASQ-3s 142 Child Development Pathways which include parent education, goal setting and support for improving an area of child development 135 Parents received the Parent Toolkit with bilingual books, information about milestones, and local resources for parents 737 children supported in addressing access to care or a social determinant of health 204 parents achieved oral health goals for their children 60 mothers supported in achieving breastfeeding goals 57 families got a library card for the first time 30 community-based parenting classes using the Triple P curriculum to prevent child abuse and neglect and improve skills 26 organizations assisted in conducted their own organizational assessments and/or were provided technical assistance to better reach and work with Latino families

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $1mil - $5mil

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have an established network of partners that are engaged in supporting us to secure funds to continue this initiative, because it is just as much a priority to them as it is to us. Currently we are working on securing additional funds from private foundations focused on early childhood and increasing our contracts for services from state agencies such as Medicaid, the Department of Social Services and the state health department.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

Latino families, especially those that are living in poverty in our state, face multiple systemic barriers, including a disconnect to resources for young children. PASOs was called to get engaged in early childhood by community and organizational stakeholders because the current systems weren't working, and we built our model on the strengths that these partners offered. Using a holistic approach, we help families connect to needed resources and feel more empowered to use their voices, and we help organizations build greater capacity to serve these children now and in the future.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

We think that the most important shift that our approach offers are the systemic changes that are occurring. Advocacy groups have us in their agendas, service providers are changing policies and hiring bilingual staff, community leaders are focusing on early childhood. This growing and important population of children is disadvantaged and formerly overlooked, yet now their needs are moving to the forefront, their strengths and challenges considered, and their voices heard. We are building a bridge that is connecting the pieces necessary to build a vital safety net and help children thrive.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

PASOs' Executive Director

Program Design Clarity

With Latino parents, PASOs Promotores (CHWs) provide the following services: community-based developmental screenings and subsequent navigation of needed resources in five counties; culturally appropriate parenting classes in two counties; early childhood literacy and resource navigation at pediatric clinics in two counties; and childhood obesity prevention in two counties. PASOs' training team also works with 25 organizations on a programmed basis to train their staff and give technical assistance so they develop new understandings and change procedures to deliver more effective services.

Community Leadership

Our model is based on employing and training leaders from within the Latino community, who authentically and organically support their peers, and develop and drive our programming. Two of our community Promotores are members of our Board of Advisors, and any new ideas are vetted and tested through interviews, focus groups and community conversations.

Age of Children Impacted

  • Pregnancy - 0
  • 0-1.5
  • 1.5 -3
  • 3 - 5
  • 6 - 12

Spread Strategies

After polishing our community-based programs, we plan to spread to other geographic areas with significant needs, building a comprehensive network of Promotores and Pediatric Bridge programs to cover the state. In a parallel fashion, we aim to provide capacity building support and training to all the SC institutions that work with young children and their families so that they initiate systemic changes towards greater inclusion and equity.

Reflect on how your work helps children to thrive. How are you cultivating children’s sense of self, belonging, and purpose through your model?

Children are better able to thrive when their parents and communities have more social supports and feel like their voices are being heard. We are helping parents who have been left out of the conversation to feel more empowered to tap into their skills and cultural strengths and support their children's development. We are also making sure that the systems and people that touch these children's lives do so in an equitable and respectful way.

Leadership Story

When I founded PASOs in 2005, the focus was helping individuals connect to resources. As PASOs progressed, we have learned alongside the communities we serve, recognizing that we have an important lens and role in systemic change, in order to solve social problems that affect individuals. We now know that it is through leaders in a vulnerable community taking charge of their own issues and using their own voices that real change can begin to occur. We also advocate that institutions serving these populations have a responsibility to adapt to their changing dynamics, and we help them do so.

What awards or honors has the project received? (Optional)

PASOs deemed "Promising Practice" by the Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs Promising Practice of the Year by the Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs Outstanding Rural Health Initiative of the Year by the SC Office of Rural Health David W. Robinson Catalyst Award

Organization's Twitter Handle


Organization’s Facebook Page (URL)

Leader's LinkedIn Profile (URL)

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 66.7%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 33.3%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 0%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 0%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 0%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 33.3%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 66.7%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 0%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 0%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 33.3%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 33.3%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 33.3%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 0%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 66.7%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 33.3%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 0%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 50%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 100%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 50%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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Attachments (2)

Hispanic Brief Draft 2016 round 2.pdf

This report, published by the Institute for Child Success, in collaboration with PASOs and the USC Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, highlights the growing Latino child population in South Carolina, their strengths and needs, as well as recommendations for policy and decision-makers.


PASOs 2015 Impact Report is a summary of our organizational results for this past year, including our Early Childhood Initiative.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Michael Auerbach

I always have a fondness for parent engagement programs. Would love to learn more about he ASQ-3 tool.

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