A new joint policy statement, released by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, includes a recommendation for states to adopt a centralized intake, screening and referral process similar to our Help Me Grow® system model.
The report, which encourages greater collaboration between federal home visiting programs and federally-required state early intervention programs, states that the adoption of a system model, such as Help Me Grow, would serve as an “effective way to ensure that families have timely access to appropriate services that meet their needs.”
Help Me Grow was developed by our Paul Dworkin, MD, Connecticut Children’s executive vice president for community child health, in 1997 to identify and link children who are at-risk for developmental or behavioral problems to helpful community services. It has now been implemented by 28 affiliates across the country that are leading more than 52 HMG systems. The Help Me Grow National Center, based at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, leads that network of affiliates by providing technical assistance to help them in contributing to the national agenda on comprehensive early childhood system building.
The report notes that HMG is a “non-federal system that assists states in identifying children at risk for developmental and behavioral concerns and then helps families find community-based programs and services. HMG is a system that helps to build collaboration across sectors, including health care, early care and education, and family support.”
The Help Me Grow National Center is part of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health, which is dedicated to promoting the optimal healthy development of all children.