The early years present incredible opportunity to build a strong foundation for children’s development. The brain develops rapidly during the first five years, laying the foundation for lifelong health, well-being, and achievement. During this time, it’s important that families have the resources they need to provide a strong foundation for their children. All children benefit from an organized system of community resources to help them thrive, including health care, quality early learning experiences, healthy nutrition, and family support.
Help Me Grow NY is a resource available in several regions of New York State to connect families with community resources and child development information.
The program offers families:
- Information on child development and parenting.
- Referrals to community resources through the Western New York 2-1-1 line, based on a comprehensive database of early intervention agencies, family therapy, literacy support, mentoring, tutoring, parenting classes, recreational activities and more.
- Questionnaires to help parents discover their child’s strengths and uncover any potential areas of concern, using the same Ages and Stages Questionnaire used by many health care providers to assess motor skills, communication, problem solving, and social-emotional skills in children up to age 5½.
Based on a national model with affiliates in 28 states, we first launched Help Me Grow in western New York as a pilot project in 2008 with six pediatric primary care practices conducting developmental screenings of children from birth through age five.
The model is simple, but powerful for families looking for help. With support from the Health Foundation and other partners, Help Me Grow NY continues to spread to help reach more families in New York.