Help Me Grow connects families to the right resources, so their children can thrive. It is a national model that promotes a universal system to provide a cost-effective, efficient, and user-friendly mechanism for early identification, referral, and care coordination related to the development, learning, and behavior of children ages 0-5
One in four children under the age of 6 is at risk for developmental, behavioral, or social delays.1 Despite this, only 33.9% of children in California receive a developmental screening and many children miss the window of opportunity for early identification and early intervention services.2 For children to get the right intervention at the right time, families need reliable, equitable access to support services.
Help Me Grow is a systems change model that aims to improve the coordination of local early childhood services by leveraging existing resources in the community, maximizing opportunities within public agencies, and promoting cross-sector collaboration toward a shared agenda. This is accomplished through oversight by an organizing entity and a network of partner agencies and programs that focus on young children and their families.
To maximize the ability to provide strategic direction for the Help Me Grow system and leverage resources within the community, F5VC officially became the organizing entity for Help Me Grow in July 2019.
1. Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health (2011). Interactive Data Query, National Survey of Children’s Health, Emotional, and Mental Health. Retrieved 12/4/17 from www.childhealthdata.org/browse/survey.
2. Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2018-2019 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Retrieved 10/15/19 from www.childhealthdata.org.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease and unmet need for children in California. More than 50% of California’s kindergartners have a history of dental decay. The Building Healthy Smiles Initiative works to eliminate dental disease in Ventura County through education, care coordination, and advocacy.
The initiative includes an evidence-based oral health education module designed to encourage good oral health habits from the start. The curriculum for pregnant women and children ages 0-5, focuses on “Brush Well, Eat Well, Drink Well, and Stay Well.” Trained oral health educators conduct presentations at locations throughout Ventura County.
To learn more about the Building Healthy Smiles curriculum or to schedule a presentation, please contact Aissa Fernandez, the United Way’s manager of community impact programs at Aissa.Fernandez@vcunitedway.org or 805-485-6288, ext. 270.
The earlier in life we can reach kids, the better the outcome and the best time to start is prenatal. First 5 Ventura County has a resource page that provides links from trusted resources to help expectant and new families make healthy, informed choices – before, during, and after pregnancy. Learn how we can support you and your child, prenatally through age 5, through a variety of resources, including our free Kit for New Parents, by clicking the button below.