Help Me Grow System: History

Help Me Grow (HMG) provides a comprehensive, statewide, coordinated system for early identification and referral of children at risk for developmental and behavioral problems.

The HMG model is designed to:

  • Support child health care providers as well as early care and education providers, human service providers, and families in effective developmental surveillance and screening to promote early detection
  • Provide a centralized call center with the care coordination capacity, our listening and learning approach, to assist families and professionals in connecting children to appropriate programs and services
  • Develop a system that facilitates greater access to and collaboration among professionals (i.e., child health care, early child care, and human service providers), nonprofit organizations, and government agencies committed to promoting optimal child development

In 2010, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded Connecticut Children's Medical Center (CT Children's) a grant to replicate HMG systems in 10 states over three years and establish the Help Me Grow National Center. After growing the network of HMG states from 7 to 18 and demonstrating the effectiveness of its replication efforts, the National Center will be poised to support additional states and create even greater impact nationwide.

History of HMG Replication

The pilot HMG program was launched in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997. It yielded promising results that demonstrated the efficacy of the HMG model. Based on the strength of these results and the targeted advocacy efforts of founding director Dr. Paul Dworkin and his team, the Connecticut legislature funded a statewide replication of the Hartford program.

Operating as a statewide system through the Connecticut Children's Trust Fund since 2002, Connecticut Help Me Grow (HMG CT) has not only successfully identified at-risk children, but it also has effectively and efficiently linked those children and their families to services.

This has been accomplished through a state-level partnership with Connecticut's Department of Public Health, Department of Developmental Services, Department of Education, the Connecticut Children's Trust Fund of the Department of Social Services, and a specialized call center housed at the Connecticut United Way/2-1-1. This partnership supports the involvement of pediatric primary-care practices, early care and education professionals, families, and community providers at the grassroots level.

In 2005, with support from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, California, Help Me Grow Orange County (HMG OC) became the first site to replicate the HMG model. Experts knowledgeable in the HMG CT system provided technical assistance and support to HMG OC's planning. National expansion efforts continued in 2008 with a grant from The Commonwealth Fund to CT Children's. The grant supported technical assistance to five states selected through a competitive application process.