Child Development

Early Childhood: Evidence to Impact

The Help Me Grow National Center is collaborating with ZERO TO THREE and the American Academy of Pediatrics to launch a new national technical assistance center aimed at strengthening early childhood systems. The Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems Evidence to Impact Center (the Center) will focus on the early childhood years to improve and strengthen the health and well-being of babies and toddlers in their most critical period of development.

Specifically, the Center aims to increase the number of states utilizing and evaluating evidence-informed strategies that focus on equity as a way of strengthening early childhood systems. The Center also seeks to increase the evidence base in support of early childhood system building and expand the delivery of high quality early childhood developmental promotion and support services in pediatric settings.

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The project is funded by a four-year, $17.2 million grant that ZERO TO THREE received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Under the grant, ZERO TO THREE will establish the Center and the Help Me Grow National Center will provide technical assistance to local organizations, networks, diverse providers, and families as they work together to support children and expand early childhood systems around the country. Additional partners will also be involved.

“This award acknowledges the capacity of the Help Me Grow National Center to facilitate early childhood comprehensive system building,” said Paul H. Dworkin, MD, the Founding Director of the Help Me Grow National Center and Connecticut Children’s Executive Vice President for Community Child Health. “It will also ensure that all families have access to the information and resources they need to enable their children to thrive.”

To learn more about the Evidence to Impact Center, click here.

This is the latest ZERO to THREE project for which the Help Me Grow National Center is providing technical assistance as part of their ongoing partnership. Another recent similar collaboration involves ZERO TO THREE’s Infant-Toddler Court Project, which aligns early childhood developmental health promotion and prevention systems with the child welfare sector to improve outcomes for families.

Miriam Calderón, Chief Policy Officer at ZERO TO THREE, delivered one of the keynote addresses at the 2022 Help Me Grow National Forum in September. Calderón’s remarks focused on policy and community change, including the potential impact that her organization’s partnership with the Help Me Grow National Center can have on children and families.

“At ZERO TO THREE, we really appreciate your leadership and your partnership in working for a future where every baby and toddler in this nation can reach their full potential,” stated Calderón as she began her presentation.

Calderón described her work shaping ZERO TO THREE’s policy priorities and developing strategies to advance an agenda for babies and toddlers in Washington, D.C. While there have been recent challenges and setbacks, she noted numerous recent successes, which include funding for the Evidence to Impact Center and the Infant-Toddler Court Project, which ZERO TO THREE and the Help Me Grow National Center are currently partnering on.

Listen to Miriam Calderón’s keynote address from the 2022 Help Me Grow National Forum here.

Like her organization, she stated that the Help Me Grow National Center and its nationwide affiliate network are uniquely positioned to help families and communities thrive and overcome the challenges they face. She discussed the core values that both organizations have in common.

“Both organizations value the opportunity early childhood offers to shape a family’s life in fundamental ways and we understand that missing that opportunity has consequences throughout life and even inter-generationally, especially for families that are impacted by poverty and racism,” stated Calderón. “Help Me Grow and ZERO TO THREE both understand that no single support system can help families make the most of the opportunity in early childhood – that it requires careful and intentional planning and cooperation between systems and partnerships with families and communities.”

To learn more about the work of the Help Me Grow National Center, click here.

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