United Way — Live United
Help Me Grow
"Together, we can identify children at risk for developmental and behavioral problems and connect them to the critical resources they need."
- Paul H. Dworkin, MD Connecticut Children's Medical Center
For nearly 30 years, there has been an ever-increasing awareness of the impact of undetected behavioral and developmental problems, not only on the children and families who experience such difficulties, but also ultimately on our society’s mental health, educational, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems. National estimates suggest that 12-16% of American children experience developmental, behavioral, or emotional disorders. Early detection of developmental and behavioral problems has been shown to improve long term outcomes. It is also widely recognized that child health providers can play a critical role in assessing and monitoring children’s development. Despite important advances in the implementation of surveillance and screening practices, early detection is of value only to the extent that children and their families can be linked to appropriate, effective programs and services. Even when children’s developmental needs are recognized, connecting children to services often proves difficult.
In 2008, Success By 6® and the Oregon Pediatric Society received a technical assistance grant from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to develop a system for earlier identification of children at-risk for developmental disabilities and delays and connection to community supports.
Help Me Grow goals:
- To achieve better child health and developmental outcomes.
- To strengthen existing links between healthcare and early childhood and create links where they currently do not exist.
- Create a system that is consistent, comprehensive and replicable statewide.
Help Me Grow has four, interrelated core components:
- Enhancing early detection and early intervention for children at risk for developmental and behavioral problems through supporting child health providers, child care providers, and parents in effective developmental surveillance and screening. Screening Tools and Referral Training (START) serves as this component for Oregon.
- Creating and maintaining a resource inventory of community-based programs and services addressing children’s developmental needs and supporting families’ capacity to promote their children’s optimal development. 211info serves as this component for Oregon.
- Linking at-risk children and their families to early childhood programs and services through a single point of telephone access (“one-stop shopping”) and effective care coordination and outreach. The Parent HelpLine (PHL) currently serves as this component for Lane County and is working to expand services, with the intention of becoming a statewide service.
- Performing data collection and analyses of children’s developmental status and regional resources to identify gaps and capacity issues and advocate for system strengthening and reform.