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Nurturing Families AT LIVEWELL


Nurturing Families AT LIVEWELL

Sunrise over the Wheat Field

Maureen Ostmeyer

Early Education & Childcare Director

By building a foundation for children and families through strong household connections, healthy development and early learning, LiveWell Northwest Kansas is able to create a lifelong change for healthy lifestyles and smart decisions. 

For 16 years, LiveWell has worked with a number of local, state, and federal agencies, to advance outcomes related to healthy behaviors within Northwest Kansas, especially for those families most at risk. By filling gaps, adding enhancements to the early childhood system and linking health to educationLiveWell has succesfully made a direct impact on community health outcomes.

LiveWell Northwest Kansas provides programs for families most at-risk

by filling gaps and building capacity for the early childhood system in northwest Kansas. These include:

Mother and Daughter Hugging

Offering Ways to Encourage HEALTHY BEHAVIORS

LiveWell Northwest Kansas works with a variety of funders and organizations to bring initiatives focused on healthy community to northwest Kansas. We strive to ensure all of our initiatives have an impact on everyone in the community. We do this by working with northwest Kansas residents to identify community-centered approaches to healthcare. We believe that communities hold the key to their best health, and we support the idea in anumber of ways.



Funded by the Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund

Since 2003, funding for Smart Start programming has been provided by the Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund through the Early Childhood Block Grant. Programs serve families and children 0 to 5 within the 12 northwestern-most Kansas counties covering 20 school districts. Programs also improve school readiness for those considered a-risk. A systematic approach using the Blueprint for Early Childhood focuses on Healthy Development, Strong Families, and Early Learning. Programs are positioned to account for the unique context of families and utilizing evidence-based or innovative interventions to address specific needs. Common measures provide a statewide picture of impact.

  • Play and Learning Strategies (PALS): At-risk families with infants who meet the ECBG criteria benefit from this program which strengthens parent-child bonding and stimulates children's early language, cognitive and social development.

  • Preschool and Early Learning Infrastructure: Implemented in school districts, preschools and child care facilities, this program supplements the scientifically-based Read It Again - PreK! curriculum to develop and strengthen children's early foundations in language and literacy.

  • Nurturing Parenting: Led by Certified Parent Educators, this program offers individual and/or group support classes featuring activities to foster parenting skills and nurturing behaviors; to promote healthy physical and emotional development; and, to teach appropriate role and developmental expectations.

  • Attachment & Biobehavioral Catch-Up: The ABC program is a parent/child treatment approach which targets families with children aged 6 to 24 months old. Designed to help caregivers provide nurturing care, the program encourages synchronous interactions between caregiver and child.

  • Every Child Ready to Read @ Kids Port: With a goal of increasing 4th grade reading levels at USD #315, this program targets children and families enrolled at two childcare facilities in Colby: Kids Port and Kids Port 2.


Referring someone? Call Office Manager Emily Palmer at (785) 460-8177.

Click Here to download : One-Page Fact Sheet

Easter preparations

EVIDENCE-BASED Early Childhood Programs

LiveWell provides five evidence-based programs that serve children 0-5 and at-risk families by promoting healthy development, strong families and early learning. Programs are gratefully supported by Early Childhood Block Grants (Kansas Children's Cabinet) and United Methodist Health Ministry Fund for the Healthy Social Emotional Development of Young Children in northwest Kansas.


In May 2016, LiveWell (formerly known as Northwest Kansas Council on Substance Abuse) was honored to receive the Health Fund's Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition Award for "accomplishments and leadership in early childhood mental health in rural and frontier regions of Kansas." Realizing the need to serve families coping with destructive chronic stress, UMHMF invited LiveWell to submit a proposal for a three-year project to provide an evidence-based home-visitation program, Attachment and Bio-behavioral Catch-Up (ABC) Intervention.


Attachment Bio-Behavioral Catch-Up (ABC)

FUNDED BY: United Methodist Health Ministry Fund

This nationally recognized program works with families experiencing trauma or toxic stress. The program is available for parents wanting to build stronger bonds with their children by working with coaches certified by the University of Delaware. LiveWell has parent coaches across the region.


Find a Parent Coach or Refer Someone. To find a parent coach close to you, or to refer someone for the program, please call Office Manager Emily Palmer at (785) 460-8177.

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FUNDED BY: Kansas Health Foundation

This initiative focuses on creating environments in communities where every resident has the same opportunity to thrive -- not merely survive. We do this by working with families who are often not involved in community decision-making conversations due to lack of childcare, language barriers, multiple jobs, and other outside influences that prevent them from being engaged in the decisions that impact them.


To address broader health inequities at the regional level, we partner with the Great Plains Health Alliance to identify ways we can help communities become more trauma aware and address the growing mental health crisis that is taking shape in northwest Kansas. To better understand health inequities that exist, we partner with Kansas University's Center for Public Partnerships and Research to collect stories from residents on their ability to thrive in a community.


We encourage you to particiapte and share your story HEREEvery county that reaches 100 stories is eligible to participate in a community event to look at the data and identify ways to celebrate the successes and barriers in our communities.

For more information, you may contact

Travis Rickford, LiveWell Northwest Kansas | (785) 460-8177

Karla Heble, Rawlins County Health Department | (785) 626-3968

Candi Douthit, Cheyenne County Hospital | (785) 332-2104, ext 170

Maureen Ostmeyer, LiveWell Northwest Kansas | (785) 460-8177

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