Maternal and Early Childhood Services

Tribal Personal Responsibility and Education Program (TPREP)

Tribal Personality and Education Program (TPREP)

The Tribal Personal Responsibility and Education Program (TPREP) is funded by the Family Youth Services Bureau through the Administration for Children and Families.

The project will expand teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention services for youth in participating tribal communities.

The program includes:

  • implementation of an adapted version of the “We R Native” curriculum.
  • provision of community specific cultural teachings around youth development topics.
  • community/parent outreach and education.

Goal:  Develop and implement abstinence and contraceptive education adolescent pregnancy and sexual transmitted infection (STI) prevention program





Safe Sleep

 Protect and Nurture
Start with Safe Sleep

Parent Resources | Provider Resources | Tribal Home Visitor Resources

Welcome to our Infant Safe Sleep Resource Site.  We have a number of resources to help parents, providers, and tribal home visitors to follow safe sleep guidelines.  This website is intended to be a resource guide for our tribal community to honor our newborn babies and prevent sudden unexpected infant deaths. 

Explore the links above to learn more about what you can do to be sure every baby reaches their first birthday.


Infant Safe Sleep Recommendations


Infant Safe Sleep Story


Parent Resources | Provider Resources | Tribal Home Visitor Resources

Preterm Birth Resources

Breastfeeding Project

Goal:  The ITCM Breast Feeding Project is funded through the National REACH Coalition/Community Transformation Grant through the CDC in order to increase the number of infants who are breastfed within all Michigan tribal communities in order to positively impact obesity and other chronic diseases.

Objectives:  1) Increase understanding of the benefits of workplace policies and practices that support breastfeeding.  2) Create and distribute a breastfeeding support toolkit to all Tribes with the hopes that each Tribe will adopt their own policy.

Breastfeeding Toolkit for the American Indian Worksite


Head Start Services

What We Do

Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.

Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in:

  • Language and literacy
  • Cognition and general knowledge
  • Physical development and health
  • Social and emotional development
  • Approaches to learning

Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage.

Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. Head Start programs build relationships with families that support:

  • Family well-being and positive parent-child relationships
  • Families as learners and lifelong educators
  • Family engagement in transitions
  • Family connections to peers and community
  • Families as advocates and leaders

Head Start Services

Head Start serves preschool-age children and their families. Many Head Start programs also provide Early Head Start, which serves infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the federal poverty level.

Over a million children are served by Head Start programs every year, including children in every U.S. state and territory and in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. Since 1965, nearly 30 million low-income children and their families have received these comprehensive services to increase their school readiness.

Head Start programs offer a variety of service models, depending on the needs of the local community. Programs may be based in:

  • Centers or schools that children attend for part-day or full-day services
  • Family child care homes
  • Children’s own homes, where a staff person visits once a week to provide services to the child and families

Children and families who receive home-based services gather periodically with other enrolled families for a group learning experience facilitated by Head Start staff.

Honoring Our Children Initiative

The Honoring Our Children Initiative recognizes family engagement as an area of priority across tribes in Michigan. Healthy Start and the Home Visiting project are two Best Practices for supporting family engagement. As part of ITCMI’s effort to align services and support across our agency and our work in service to the Tribes,  we are hoping to assist Tribal communities in their effort to improve the early childhood systems serving young tribal children 0-8 and their families by building capacity, opening communication across professions/departments, and forging stronger collaborations. Through partnership with the WKKellogg Foundation, SAMHSA/Tribal Tech, Healthy Start, and several Head Start Programs, we are focusing our current activities around the following learning outcomes:

 Raised Awareness

Tribal communities will have an opportunity to build awareness, knowledge, and skills around early childhood development as well as the “how’s & why’s” of improving early childhood systems

Enhanced Skills

Tribal communities have an opportunity to build communication skills across sectors through system & family focused educational enrichment activities through webinars, virtual learning, GONA training, convenings, and learning communities

Improved Consensus/Teamwork

Tribal community leaders, staff, and families will have an opportunity to build on strategies and resources across tribal communities that show positive outcomes in early childhood/family engagement practices supporting families through shared enrichment activities and TA support

Fostered Coalitions/Networks

Tribal community leaders, staff, and families have an opportunity to network across professional sectors and Tribal communities to collaborate on a variety of early childhood issues to increase access and improve outcomes for children 0-8 and their families

Formulated Policy/Implementing Strategy

Tribal communities in Michigan have an opportunity to improve the quality of their early childhood programs/services through increased 2-way communication that aligns programs/services, increases family access, shares decision making and informs policy



Building Capacity through Family Engagement

HOC Planning Phase Report

Powerpoint: WKKF Communication Basics Toolkit

Starting the Next Phase

Two Year Planning Phase

HOC Year 2 Summit Powerpoint

ITC Summit 2 Presentation

Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center Presentation

TBCAC Cultural Adaption Article (2010)

Zero Tolerance Community Action Plan

MCMCH GreatStart Sandbox Presentation


Learn more, contact:
Michelle Schulte, M.A.
11255 East Fort Rd. A-4; Suttons Bay, MI 49682
Phone: (231) 866-0805


Healthy Start

Healthy Start: Maajtaag Mnobmaadzid, “The Start of a Healthy Life”

Healthy Start is a national infant mortality prevention initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Our project is one of about 100 federally-funded projects around the country, and includes 10 sites: Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Hannahville Indian Community, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Little Traverse Bay Bands, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians,and American Indian Health & Family Services of Southeast Michigan. Healthy Start focuses on access to and use of health services for women and their families, strengthening local health systems and increasing consumer input into these systems of local care. Each year, we provide personalized, supportive case management to between 600 and 700 people, and community outreach and education services to over 4,000 people in 14 counties in Michigan.

Core Strategies: Healthy Start features evidence-based practices and innovative, culturally informed community-driven interventions. Beginning with direct outreach by community health workers to pregnant and postpartum women, we ensure that mothers and infants have ongoing sources of primary and preventive health care and that their basic needs (housing, psychosocial, nutritional and educational support) are met. Following risk assessments and screening for perinatal depression, case managers provide linkages with appropriate services and education. Most services are delivered through home visiting. Mothers and infants are followed from entry into prenatal care through 2 years after delivery. The project has strong collaborative linkages with State programs including Title V MCH Block Grant, Medicaid, State Child Health Insurance Program, and with local agencies and services.

Success: Since the introduction of Healthy Start in 1997, we have seen a steady downward trend in American Indian infant mortality within the project area, with the disparity gap narrowing between White and American Indian infants. Other trends include a marked increase in first trimester prenatal care, lower prematurity rates, an increase in those securing a medical home, increased screening for pregnancy and postpartum health risks, and increased use of culturally competent elements in policies, guidelines and trainings.

Head Start Staff

Ann Belleau, Head Start Director
Cindy Payment
Cindy Payment, Administrative Assistant

Maternal and Child Health Staff

Elizabeth Kushman, Manager Lisa Abramson, Evaluator, Tribal PREP Director
Michelle Schulte, Honoring Our Children Project Director Amanda Leonard, Tribal Home Visiting Program Coordinator
Raeanne Madison, Coalition Coordinator Sandy Thompson, Administrative Assistant