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First 5 Association has identified Help Me Grow (HMG) as the transformative solution to improve California’s early identification and intervention system. California is one of 22 states with a Help Me Grow initiative affiliated with the HMG National Center. HMG is a system for improving access to existing resources and services for children birth through age eight.  Beginning with the expansion of developmental and behavioral screening, often conducted in early learning or health settings, HMG provides support and guidance to families seeking developmental and behavioral health services. Through comprehensive outreach to community providers to bolster awareness about HMG and offering a centralized point of access for streamlining information and navigating referrals, families are linked with appropriate programs and services based on the specific needs of the child and family. Ongoing data collection and analysis helps identify gaps in services to help promote system enhancement.

Help Me Grow does not provide direct service to children and families; instead, it emphasizes four core components to build the capacity of communities to support families and children:

  1. Universal developmental screening to identify all developmental and behavioral delays;
  2. Outreach to child health care providers, early childhood educators, community members, and families;
  3. Centralized information and resource centers; and
  4. Ongoing data collection and analysis to identify gaps and improve systems.

Since 2011, efforts coordinated through the First 5 Association have been underway to replicate HMG across California counties and to further establish HMG as an integral component of California’s efforts at the state level to ensure children’s optimal, healthy development.

Currently, 35 First 5 commissions are engaged in efforts to connect at-risk children with the services they need through local exploration and implementation of the Help Me Grow system. Seventeen of those counties have fully adopted Help Me Grow and the remaining counties are participating in planning conversations with their local partners to develop their strategy for joining.  We anticipate the growth to result in 80% of California’s children, zero to five, living in a county or region with access to Help Me Grow by early 2018.

For an up-to-date snapshot of the initiative's statewide expansion, visit the landscape map on the HMG website.

Check out some of the various counties already involved:

Help Me Grow Alameda County

 Help Me Grow Contra Costa County

Help Me Grow Fresno

Help Me Grow Orange County

San Bernardino County

San Francisco County

San Joaquin County

Santa Clara County

 Help Me Grow Solano

Help Me Grow Ventura

Help Me Grow Yolo County

The ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM) describes core knowledge and role-specific competencies needed for early intervention service provision, incorporating current research and evidence in the field of early intervention. To access the ESPM, CLICK HERE.

This resource is related to the following ESPM knowledge-level competencies:

  • Identification and Referral (IR):
    • IR4 (EIA): Knows resource options for services and supports (other than Early Start) in the country/area of residence.
  • Individualized Family Service Plan Development and Review (IFSP-DR):
    • IFSP-DR3 (EIS): Knows community agencies and resources such as primary health care, infant/family mental health, social services, and parent-parent.
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