Child Abuse Council
524 15th Street
Moline, IL 61265
(309) 736-7170 ext. 101
Making Connections that Matter
Rock Island County is located along a bend in the Mississippi River on the border of Iowa with a mix of urban AND rural communities. Rock Island County has had a recent influx of refugees, immigrants, as well as former Chicagoans looking to raise their families in a safe environment that offers many opportunities for improving their lives. In 2019, the estimated population of Rock Island County was 141,879. Approximately 6.1% of the Rock Island County population is under the age of five. Rock Island is proud to be known as the birthplace of John Deere tractors and is known as a manufacturing community of hard working people. The region’s beautiful surroundings and commitment to education, a strong work ethic, art and culture make it a preferred place for families with young children to live and thrive, whether it is new beginnings for families recently arriving or a new generation of hard working families who have been there for years.
Since its inception, Rock Island All Our Kids (AOK) Network prioritized the need to discover important connections that are needed to help families with young children improve their lives. In 2010 the AOK Networks first learned of work taking place out of the Project LAUNCH /AOK Network in Chicago to develop a web-based system linking partner agencies together to provide information for referrals for children and families. This system would provide community partners with a method to make a referral directly to a contact person and give information at the front end to help agencies determine what services were appropriate for the families they were serving. At that time there was the potential for other communities to become involved once the web-based system was further into development. The Rock Island County AOK Network began strategic planning in 2011. The planning included surveys, interviews using the Appreciate Inquiry model, and a number of focus groups and community planning days. Throughout this planning a prominent need vocalized by Network partners was the need to have better information on services available in the community and better processes for getting families from “point A to point B” rather than “blindly sending them on their way”. Although the local Network began working with the existing Guiding Providers, People, and Parents through Systems (GP3S) database being developing by Project Launch, the community ended up pivoting and utilizing IRIS; an entirely new and emerging resource to improve the referral process in the area.
The Rock Island AOK Network shifted their focus as other local agencies took lead on IRIS. The Rock Island AOK Network began a root cause analysis to determine local, high priority concerns; as well as their root causes. Priorities that were identified include access to healthy eating, active living, and nutritional literacy resources; early childhood mental health; engaging young children and their families through Learning Through Play events; and both educating and bringing awareness to providers and agencies on barriers that families might face while accessing various services. Each year, the Rock Island AOK Network updates and distributes community resource guides. As of 2021, the Rock Island AOK Network and their partners also designed and created a comprehensive Food Resource Guide for the entire bi-state area. The local AOK Network continues to prioritize the overall health and wellness of very young children and their families through community collaboration efforts.