In 1999, Dr. Paul Dworkin, physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, developed Help Me Grow after repeatedly working with families who had children with developmental delays. Often, these families were either unaware of or unable to connect to community resources for additional support. Help Me Grow, by design, was created to link families to these resources and to offer providers a place to direct these families. Because of its success, the Help Me Grow model is now being replicated in states across the nation. Help Me Grow Western New York (HMGWNY) was first launched in 2011.
The lessons learned from this initial experience resulted in a renewed commitment by the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York to embark on a re-launch of the Help Me Grow model in July 2013. As part of this renewed effort, HMGWNY has established a coordinated and collaborative community-wide effort with a broad cross-sector of support. Using an innovative new leadership structure, Niagara University in Lewiston, NY is leading the project and the Health Foundation has also partnered with the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and United Way of Greater Niagara as the project has continued to evolve and grow.
Also included in the system is the accredited Western New York 2-1-1 centralized call center that serves as the central point of access for HMGWNY. WNY 2-1-1 contains a comprehensive and robust listing of community-based resources and services available to families of young children. Our linkage coordination is built upon our State’s network of Early Childhood Direction Centers (ECDC) and Early Intervention (EI).
Our mission is to build upon and enhance the existing Early Childhood initiatives and resources available in our community and achieve the development of a set of common, community-based standards and performance measures to improve pre-K and K readiness for local children ages 0-5.
While our mission is local, our vision is statewide.
To learn more about the National Help Me Grow Network and the nationwide expansion of Help Me Grow, click here.