Connecting Families to Community Services…
A Program of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, Family Support Services Division
Help Me Grow is a prevention program of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood designed to identify children at risk for developmental or behavioral problems and to connect these children to existing community resources. Families, health care providers and other community based providers can call Child Development Infoline (CDI) at 1-800-505-7000 with any concerns about a child’s development or behavior. The care coordinators at CDI work with each family to find the best services available to meet their needs, including connecting to community resources, family support and education programs, and the Ages & Stages Developmental Monitoring Program in which more than 2,500 families are currently enrolled. Families can also receive information on various topics related to their child’s development, such as managing difficult behavior, toilet training, sleep issues, promoting language development, and typical developmental milestone information. Follow-up is offered to ensure connections to services have been made, and that the family’s needs have been met.
To make a referral to Help Me Grow, call Child Development Infoline at 1-800-505-7000.
The Help Me Grow System has interrelated components that work collaboratively:
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC) – EPIC ensures that child health providers are trained in effective developmental surveillance and screening, including how to contact Help Me Grow if a concern is identified. EPIC is provided by the Child Health and Development Institute. For more information: www.chdi.org.
Confidential Telephone Access & Ages and Stages – Child Development Infoline (CDI), a specialized call center of United Way 2-1-1, serves as the Help Me Grow access point that links young children and families to existing services and supports and offers families the opportunity to participate in the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The ASQ is a tracking system that helps parents and child health providers monitor a child’s development.
Resource Inventory – United Way 2-1-1 maintains an inventory of community-based programs used by the CDI telephone care coordinators to serve children, families and providers. Resource information is maintained by the 2-1-1 Information Department.
Community Liaisons – Community Liaisons from the Office of Early Childhood serve as a conduit between local programs and the call center. In this capacity they contribute information to the resource inventory used by the CDI call center and support providers by facilitating local networking opportunities.
Outcome Evaluation – An annual Outcome Evaluation of calls to Help Me Grow measures the effectiveness of matching family need with program services. The evaluation also assesses the program’s effectiveness in meeting annual goals and fulfilling State criteria for results-based accountability. Evaluation is conducted by the Center for Social Research, a research entity of the University of Hartford. For more information:www.centerforsocialresearch.org
Of Note- History and Philosophy:
Help Me Grow’s origins rise from the extensive research documenting the scope of childhood developmental problems and our frequent inability to detect these problems at an early age. Nationwide, it is estimated that approximately 15 percent of children experience developmental, behavioral and/or emotional disorders that may interfere with later school success.
Child health providers are in general agreement that early detection of developmental delays offers the best hope for optimal outcomes, but traditional developmental monitoring approaches have not been effective in identifying children at risk. Help Me Grow employs the concept of developmental surveillance, pioneered in Great Britain and championed here in Connecticut by Dr. Paul Dworkin, Physician-in-Chief of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and a driving force behind the creation of Help Me Grow. Critical to developmental surveillance is the input of parents.
Help Me Grow is a universal system that provides a cost effective, efficient, and user friendly mechanism for identifying children from birth through the age of eight for developmental or behavioral problems and connecting them to appropriate community resources in a timely manner.
Help Me Grow is being replicated nationally through grants from the Commonwealth & Kellogg Foundations. For more information on the replication efforts, contact Joanna Bogin at the Office of Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center: 860-837-6267 or visit the Help Me Grow National Center website.