[Editorial note: This post was originally published on the Best Starts for Kids blog.]
How do we make it easier for a new mom to find a place where she can take her son to play with other kids while she gets support from other moms? Where can a young dad go to find out whether his daughter should already be talking, walking, or laughing? Help Me Grow connects families and caregivers with kids under age five to community-based programs and services, simplifying how families and caregivers move between systems of care and promoting healthy child development for all children, families and caregivers.
In 2018, Best Starts for Kids reached out to national, state, and local partners to begin mapping a strategy for bringing Help Me Grow to Washington State.
And now, King County is an official Help Me Grow member! Why is this exciting? Help Me Grow is a national model. Now that King County is an approved member, we can move forward working with communities and families to build Help Me Grow in King County so that families can access the support they need, when, how and where they need it. When communities, families and caregivers build Help Me Grow, they can make it work best for them.
What is Help Me Grow?
Help Me Grow makes direct referrals, so families and providers can easily connect to community resources that are best for them.
Help Me Grow prioritizes family experience and community voice.
Everyone contributing to Help Me Grow wants all families to:
- have increased concrete support in times of need
- have increased positive social connections
- have increased knowledge of parenting and child development
- be able to manage stress and function well in spite of adversity
- be able to nurture children’s social and emotional competence
By aligning systems and services through Help Me Grow, the goal is family-centered and culturally relevant supports.
Meet the Best Starts for Kids Help Me Grow Core Team
There are many people and organizations contributing to this effort. To ensure families get what they need, we need the expertise of many partners. The folks leading this work from within the County are in the photo below. Meet the King County Help Me Grow team!
From left to right: Anne McNair, Tiffany Williams, Marcy Miller, Devon Love and Yvette Gerrans
Meet Help Me Grow Partners
King County is grateful for the collaboration of numerous partners. As the lead affiliate in Washington for Help Me Grow, WithinReach oversees the replication of the system throughout the state, working with local communities to build strong programs that honor the unique needs of their region and optimize resources that exist locally.
Jessie Britton, Stephanie Orrico, Jose Villalobos, Liz Jaquette and Sharon Beaudoin
“We are very excited to work with Best Start for Kids – I believe we will develop one of the best Help Me Grow systems in the country,” said Sharon Beaudoin, Chief Strategy Officer for WithinReach. “Best Start for Kids is focused on engaging the community, with equity as a cornerstone for all they do. Those values, coupled with all of the great programs they are funding – we are lucky to partner with them to bring Help Me Grow to King County families.”
Best Starts for Kids recently hosted a small gathering for service providers who serve families with young children in King County. Everyone in the room had the same goal–support families. The providers came together to discuss how we all want to measure success and approach data. Participants expressed their excitement and commitment around the momentum growing around Help Me Grow in King County.
Meet the Best Starts for Kids Community Liaisons
Help Me Grow King County is going out into community! We want your feedback. However, we recognize that some communities require more intentional outreach.
Best Starts for Kids is piloting a Language Community Liaison Pilot Program. The Liaisons help Best Starts strengthen connections to specific language communities, many of whom have been historically underserved or underrepresented in King County. King County wants to invites families to help build Help Me Grow so that it works for families. Ethno-Cultural Community Liaisons facilitate partnerships between Best Starts for Kids Help Me Grow and historically marginalized racial, ethnic, and cultural communities that speak English. We recognize that we need to be more intentional to engage some communities and so are partnering with Community Liaisons to actively involve families who government often does not hear.
Best Starts for Kids aims to establish long-term partnerships with individuals and organizations who are fully embedded in their communities. These individuals and/or organizations are contracted with King County as Language Community Liaisons to promote meaningful engagement, outreach, and partnership efforts initiated by Best Starts for Kids.
Meet the King County Language Community Liaisons and Ethno-Cultural Liaisons below! We are excited to be working all the following Liaisons and are grateful for their support in building an equitable Help Me Grow for all families:
Want to Learn More? Check Out These Resources