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) is a collaboration of cross-sector regional and state organizations that have joined together to give WNY children the best possible start in life.  Our vision is that children in all counties of our region will have positive experiences during their critical first five years of life that enable them to be healthy, resilient, and prepared to achieve their potential.

HMGWNY became the first New York State (NYS) affiliate of the Help Me Grow National Center in 2011.  Our work is based on the evidence-informed national Help Me Grow model that is currently implemented in 28 states and endorsed by the U.S. Health & Human Services Administration and Department of Education.  For additional information, visit helpmegrownational.org.

Help Me Grow was originally launched in WNY with support from the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York.  The initiative is currently funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.  In Erie County, the Department of Social Services also provides resources that enable us to reach families with young children.

Key WNY partners include 2-1-1WNY; Niagara University; University at Buffalo; Niagara County Department of Social Services & Early Intervention; Erie County Department of Health; NYS Office of Children & Family Services (Buffalo Region); NYS Department of Health (Western Region); Chautauqua County Connections; United Ways; and numerous school districts, child care providers, medical practices, and human service agencies.

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 HMG-LI system launched 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 came 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 came 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.

Help Me Grow Onondaga

Help Me Grow Onondaga is a key strategy of the Early Childhood Alliance that focuses on supporting parents and children so that all children can grow, develop, and thrive to their full potential.

Onondaga County began exploring Help Me Grow as a model in 2017 and attended the Help Me Grow Annual Forum in Minneapolis, MN.  Experiencing genuine enthusiasm for Help Me Grow and its impact on communities at the Forum, members of our community were committed to bringing the model to Onondaga County.

Planning for Help Me Grow officially began in January 2018, working with Syracuse University School of Education, Office of Professional Research and Development, with funding support from the Women’s Fund of Central New York and the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York.  In Spring through the Fall of 2018, Onondaga County engaged with the Help Me Grow National Center, receiving technical assistance and completing the Help Me Grow Readiness Assessment.

Help Me Grow Onondaga officially launched in January 2019.  Help Me Grow Onondaga is a collaboration between the Early Childhood Alliance partners, Onondaga County, Contact Community Services/2-1-1cny, with funding support from the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York.

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

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