At Our Core

Advancing Outcomes for All Children

Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health is a national leader in promoting the optimal health, development and well-being of children in Connecticut and around the country. Launched in 2012, the Office is recognized as a pioneer in utilizing a cross-sector approach to build stronger child-serving systems and strengthen families.

Led by the vision of Paul H. Dworkin, MD, who previously served as Connecticut Children’s physician-in-chief for 15 years, the Office helps shape federal, state and local policy regarding child services; strengthens relationships between internal and external partners across all sectors that influence child health and development; and cultivates innovations to positively support children at risk for poor health and life outcomes.

“If we ask ourselves what really determines children’s well-being, the excellence of the medical and surgical services we provide, while critically important, accounts for only 10 percent of children’s health and development outcomes,” said Dr. Dworkin, executive vice president for community child health at Connecticut Children’s. “We must devise programs that address all of the factors that influence children’s healthy development.”

The Office currently supports the following programs that address a wide range of issues that have the potential to adversely the health, development and well-being of children. Such issues include developmental delays, behavioral concerns, childhood obesity, healthy housing, domestic violence, teen driving safety, teen suicide prevention, asthma and sexually transmitted diseases.

Help Me Grow National Center, which is one of the Office’s signature programs, serves as a national resource for supporting the replication of Help Me Grow systems throughout the country. Tested as a pilot project in Hartford in 1997, the program expanded statewide in 2002 and is now being replicated in 28 states around the country. Help Me Grow promotes cross-sector collaboration to build efficient and effective early childhood systems. The model connects children who are at risk for developmental or behavioral concerns to helpful community-based services in various child-serving sectors. Its goal is to mitigate the impact of adversity and enhance protective factors among families, which will help all children grow, develop and thrive.

Another key initiative, the Children’s Hospital Learning Collaborative, is designed to advance best practices in community child health around the country. Eight children’s hospitals and the Children’s Hospital Association are participating in the initial collaborative and the Office hopes to launch additional cohorts in the future. In forming the collaborative, the Office developed an opportunity to share its successes and lessons learned in the hopes of helping other hospitals increase their contributions to the futures of all children.

As the Office continues to develop initiatives of local, statewide and national significance, it is committed to advocating for a child-first approach on healthcare transformation in Connecticut and around the country. Instead of focusing on achieving cost savings primarily through adults with chronic conditions, the Office encourages public policy experts, insurers and others to place a greater emphasis on promoting health among our youngest citizens, with the goal of preventing diagnosable conditions from ever occurring. The long-term cost savings from intervening early with at-risk children and setting them on paths toward lifelong health and well-being cannot be overstated.

Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health recognizes that children are our future. It is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that all children have an opportunity to reach their full potential.

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