History – Help Me Grow WNY

In 1999, Dr. Paul Dworkin, physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, developed Help Me Grow as a result of 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 and adopted in states across the nation.

Help Me Grow Western New York

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 2-1-1 Western New York centralized information and referral center that serves as the central point of access for HMGWNY.  2-1-1WNY 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-Kindergarten and Kindergarten readiness for children ages 0-5.

While our mission is local, our vision is statewide.

Help Me Grow Long Island

Help Me Grow-Long Island (HMG-LI) is a partnership that builds upon existing early childhood resources on Long Island to support early detection of developmental concerns, celebrate the growth of young children, and link families to the services that help children thrive from birth to age five.

Planning for HMG-LI started in 2016 with a Leadership Team first convening in January 2017. The launch of the HMG-LI system will be in early 2018.

Docs for Tots acts as the organizing entity for HMG-LI, charged with convening partners, coordinating activities, acting as fiscal agent when appropriate, and liaising with Help Me Grow National and Help Me Grow Western New York for technical assistance.

HMG-LI is a proud partner of 2-1-1 Long Island, which provides telephone access and a resource database. The Child Care Council of Nassau provides workspace for the HMG-LI Family Resource Specialist.

Partial funding for the implementation of HMG-LI comes from the New York State Council on Children and Families through a 5-year Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Impact grant.  The ECCS aim will be realized through utilization of HMG resources and services.   Additional support for planning comes from the Rauch Foundation and the Edith Glick Shoolman Children’s Foundation funds operating expenses.  Remaining support comes through in-kind services provided by our partners.

To learn more about the National Help Me Grow Network and the nationwide expansion of Help Me Grow, click here.


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