Funds will bolster state’s capacity to support youngsters’ development
TRENTON – The state Department of Children and Families has been awarded a one-year $20,000 technical assistance grant by Help Me Grow National Replication Center that will enhance the state’s efforts to focus on infant and young children’s healthy development.
The Help Me Grow (HMG) system is an evidenced-based model that was created to assist states in identifying at-risk children, identifying the gaps in and barrier to services and linking children and families to the services and programs they need.
Launched in 1998 in Hartford, Conn., today the program is through auspices of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and has been expended to 16 states. The program model promotes cross-sector and interagency collaboration among child health services, early care and education, and family support services.
“This grant is really about helping us better work with all of our system partners to ensure early intervention and prevention and providing infants and young children and their families a strong network of supports and services to ensure optimal child development early on,” Department of Children and Families Commissioner Dr. Allison Blake said.
“We are extremely excited to be one of only three states in the nation to be awarded the HMG grant during this round of Replication,” Blake said.
Four core components — child healthcare provider outreach, community outreach and support services, centralized telephone access and coordination, and data collection – are employed to help ensure a successful and efficient system. The HMG system also requires an organizing entity, a strategy for expanding the model statewide and the implementation of a continuous quality improvement plan.
The department’s Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships’ Office of Early Childhood Services, which coordinates prevention services to families with children ages birth to 6, will be the lead in implementing the HMG system in New Jersey.
“With this grant, DCF will be able to build upon the excellent foundation already established in partnership with its sister agencies, the Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Human Services and the Department of Education, as well as other community partners to build an integrated system of care for children with a greater emphasis on the healthy development of infants and young children.”