• Building a brighter future for our community, one child, one family at a time

    More than 50 Chautauqua County partners working together to help children thrive.

    Support for children and families, prenatally through age 5

    Strong Starts Chautauqua

    Our Goals

    1. Educate our community on the importance of early life experiences as a foundation for lifelong health, well-being, and achievement.
    2. Enhance our county’s ability to assist with life challenges faced by pregnant women, children aged birth-5, and their families.
    3. Support our county’s families and caregivers by improving access to resources and services that help all young children thrive.
    4. Create a strong local support system for organizations working with young children and their families using national, proven strategies.
    Why Strong Starts Chautauqua Matters

    Did you know?

    Early Brain Gains Impact Later Life


    "Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Just as a weak foundation compromises the quality and strength of a house, adverse experiences early in life can impair brain architecture, with negative effects lasting into adulthood."

    Many Chautauqua Children Are at Risk

    • 4th highest child poverty rate in NYS
    • Rate of children born affected by mothers’ substance use during pregnancy 5 times higher than the NYS rate and growing
    • Number of child abuse and maltreatment cases more than double that of NYS counties
    • Chautauqua County students show comparatively low academic achievement. (NYSED)

    Every Child, Every Need

    Strong Starts Chautauqua is here for all families with young children, offering support for simple questions to more complex needs. Our rich network of service partners can provide just what your family needs to help your child thrive and reach full potential.

    What Experts Are Saying About Strong Starts Chautauqua

    "Young children are our future citizens. The earlier we prevent, identify and help with challenges, the better outcomes are for Chautauqua County.”

    -Tariq Khan, MD, Founder, Southern Tier Pediatrics

    "I have rarely worked with such a committed group as Strong Starts Chautauqua. It is a sight to behold seeing barriers, competition and silo work melt away by people coming together to try their hardest to make Chautauqua County a better and healthier place to live."

    -Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Former Medical Director and VP of Medical Affairs, WCA Hospital

    Partner Spotlight

    Pictured from left to right are: Elizabeth Witherspoon, Steven Cobb, Dorothy Carlson, Allison Murphy, Bethany Vanderburg, Jessica Crooks

    The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua provides community-based peer supports.   Peers work with Strong Starts participants from a foundational point of shared recovery and provide the hope, inspiration and figuratively, the glue that holds things together, while continuing to walk the path of recovery.

    News & Events