Medicaid is Not Just for Doctor’s Visits: Innovative Early Childhood Funding Strategies
A new blog post from the Center for Health Care Strategies presents five key strategies for connecting Medicaid and early childhood system supports: Shift mindsets; Speak the same language; Align priorities; Narrow the scope; and Forge cross-sector partnerships.

Faces of Medicaid Data Series: Examining Children’s Behavioral Health Service Use and Expenditures
Authored by the Center for Health Care Strategies, the Children’s Faces of Medicaid Data Series, funded principally by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is designed to address the limited information available on how expenditures are distributed across service types and how patterns of behavioral health care use and expense differ for children covered by Medicaid across aid categories, age groups, gender, and race and ethnicity. Now in its third edition, the 2018 study examines Medicaid utilization and expenditure claims data for roughly 32 million children and youth who received Medicaid-financed services in 2011.

Early Learning Updates: Preschool Development 2017 Progress Report
As it enters its fourth year, the U.S. Department of Education and HHS’ Preschool Development Grants program continues to expand high-quality preschool opportunities for 4-year-olds in 18 states across the U.S. The recently released 2017 Preschool Development Grants Progress Update highlights data from the 2016–17 school year, and indicates that over 14,000 additional children and 90 additional high-need communities benefited as compared with the previous year. These increases show significant progress and are just a piece of the total 49,000 children who have been served throughout 320 communities since the 2014 implementation of the program.

Infographics: Preschool Data and Instruction, School Readiness
The Regional Educational Laboratory, an Institute of Education Sciences initiative, is developing a suite of infographics for state-, district-, and school-level educators that display information on evidence-based research and school readiness resources. Two of the infographics have been released: 1) Preparing a School-Ready Child, which answers the question “What is school readiness?” and 2) The Ready School: Preparing a School-Ready Child, which focuses on evidence-based practices from schools that are ready to receive and support kindergarten students. The suite’s remaining infographics will be released in the upcoming months, and will pertain to other key components of school readiness. These include the ready child, the ready family, and the ready community.

Indispensables for Quality Pre-K
Published by the Alliance for Early Success, this set of practices and policies is the product of thirty research, program, and advocacy leaders coming together at New America to identify three practices and three policies indispensable for quality teaching and learning in pre-K.

Advancing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: The Integration of DC:0-5™ Into State Policy and Systems
A new paper from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center discusses why and how states are integrating DC:0-5 into state policy and systems. The paper provides examples of some of the strategies that states have used to allow, promote, or require the use of DC:0-5, and provides recommendations for further improvements in state infant and early childhood mental health policy and practice. It is important to note that this paper provides a point-in-time overview of how DC:0-5 is being integrated into state systems and policies, with examples that illustrate the innovative work going on across the United States.

Healthy Birth Outcomes through Cross-Sector Collaboration
A new report from FSG highlights lessons learned from two birth outcomes projects in Fresno County, California, and Staten Island, New York, to offer insights into paths to success and challenges to be aware of when seeking to address birth outcomes through collaborations.

Build Systems Instead of Cycles
With more babies born, there’s even more reason to break cycles of poverty and poor health outcomes, including rising opioid misuse. In a recent article, Treating the Opioid Epidemic as a Children’s Health Crisis, NICHQ’s Chief Health Officer expands on why developing comprehensive, coordinated systems is the key to improvement.

Essentials for Parenting
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Essentials for Parenting is a free, online resource which helps parents of toddlers and preschoolers handle common behavior challenges. This resource is available in both English and Spanish and offers articles, videos, quick tips, FAQs, and a virtual practice space where parents can try new skills. (Only available in English.)

Milestones in Action Library Now Available in Spanish 
The Learn the Signs. Act Early. initiative out of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at CDC has launched a Spanish version of the Milestones in Action library. This resource was created to help parents, early care and education providers, and healthcare professionals to identify developmental milestones in very young children and areas of concern. No permissions are needed to use the photos and images in this library for educational or awareness-building purposes.

Why Proven Solutions Struggle to Scale Up
Many social innovations fail because they are unable to bridge the “stagnation chasm.” A new article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review takes a look at the resources, ecosystems, and skills needed to overcome it.

For news and resources on capacity building, funding opportunities, training, events, webinars and more, log on to the HMG National Center’s FUNDING & CAPACITY BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES web page.


Advancing Reading to Advance Population Health
Reflecting on his recent participation in two panel discussions during the Funder Huddle at its annual GLR Week in Philadelphia, a new blog post by Dr. Paul Dworkin describes the partnership between the HMG National Center and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The first discussion focused on the need for funders to engage in “big bets” to support healthy development and the second discussion focused on leveraging Medicaid to address the health determinants of early school success and achieve child health transformation. During his remarks, Dr. Dworkin emphasized the need to “focus innovation efforts and funding on children first in order to achieve true healthcare transformation, rather than continuing to place a greater priority on achieving cost savings among adults with chronic conditions and senior citizens.”

Leveraging Medicaid to Promote Children’s Optimal Health
A new blog post by Dr. Paul Dworkin details challenges to focusing on children in the context of health care transformation and Medicaid reform and counters those challenges with compelling reasons to embrace a child-first focus on healthcare transformation. Learn how our work at the Help Me Grow National Center “provides numerous examples of how leveraging Medicaid for a greater purpose can lead to enhanced outcomes for children and what is believed to be a greater long-term payoff in terms of child health and development outcomes.”

National Thought Leaders Discuss Opportunities to Measure Socioemotional Development
The HMG National Center was pleased to have the opportunity to attend a convening of a number of key leaders in the early childhood field focused on the potential for a shared approach to measurement of children’s social emotional development (SED). The group considered important factors such as which SED measures exist, which lend themselves to shared adoption and in what contexts, and what positive changes may be realized as a result of achieving this vision. The National Center looks forward to following the evolution of this conversation and its’ potential value to increasing momentum for children’s SED.

Help Me Grow Report Details Nationwide Reach
A new blog post highlights the HMG National Building Impact: 2017 Annual Report, which documents the scope and reach of the HMG Affiliate Network. The report marks the first time the HMG National Center has collected, synthesized, and published data from HMG systems across the country, and serves to raise awareness about the progress of, and potential future directions for, an affiliate network aimed at strengthening children and families.

If You Love Children…
In a new blog post, Jacquelyn Rose of Connecticut Children’s Advancing Kids Innovation Program reflects back on her experience at the 2018 QRIS National Meeting and her presentation with HMG Orange County and HMG VT, Help Me Grow and QRIS: A Cross-Systems Approach to Strengthening Early Learning through Early Detection, Referral, and Linkage to Services. This presentation outlines the collaboration to develop and lead a new Community of Practice for Help Me Grow affiliates to improve early detection and intervention for children in home- or center-based early learning settings who are at risk for developmental concerns.


Delaware’s Act Early Statewide Collaboration
Featured in the Summer 2018 Issue of the Act Early Network News, Delaware’s collaboration with community partners has been a primary goal of its Act Early Ambassador Program efforts. The state’s Act Early Ambassador, Brittany Powers of the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies, has partnered with statewide agencies to customize and disseminate the Learn the Signs. Act Early. materials. Through partnership with Delaware’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program, a LEND trainee and mother of a child with autism, Jennifer Sparks, now serves as a Delaware Act Early Delegate. Together, they have collaborated with 2-1-1, Help Me Grow Delaware, and early childhood teams to identify community resources. The first task was customizing the LTSAE Milestones brochures. Delaware contacts are provided, as well as the recommended dates for developmental and autism-specific screening. Given the recently reported increased prevalence of ASD, Delaware stakeholders decided it was important that parents and caregivers understand the need for both developmental monitoring and developmental screening. Brittany and Jen have begun sharing the new Delaware Milestone Brochures with parents through social media and with early childcare providers through community events. “Our partnership with the Learn the Signs. Act Early program aligns neatly with the goals and objectives of Help Me Grow, 2-1-1, and the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Impact grant. As a state we’re on a path to assuring a comprehensive systems approach within early childhood so having the Act Early Ambassador at the table is essential to our success. It’s a win-win-win – for us, the Act Early program, and Delaware families,” said Paulina Gyan, State Lead for HMG Delaware and Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Manager.

A Model for Integration: Help Me Grow, Learn the Signs. Act. Early and Home Visiting
Help Me Grow South Carolina (HMG SC), home to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Act Early Ambassador to South Carolina and recipient of a Developmental Screening Within Statewide Systems Grant through the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, has focused on integrating Help Me Grow and Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) into South Carolina’s home visiting system. Through interactive trainings focused on developmental monitoring, screening, linkage to services, and partnership opportunities, HMG SC is enhancing the home visiting workforce and impacting outcomes for children and their families. Additional regional trainings will be offered this fall which will strengthen existing partnerships with home visiting programs and provide opportunities to develop new partnerships. HMG SC’s work within the home visiting system is the basis for the new primer on embedding LTSAE. View the CDC’s webpage for Home Visitors
Going forward, the SC affiliate is working with home visiting sites to integrate the Well Visit Planner tool. Home visitors were introduced to the tool at their annual statewide retreat in July. Next up is a presentation to the Home Visiting Consortium which will be followed by a roll out plan in October. HMG SC participated in the HMG National Center’s Community of Practice focused on implementing the Well Visit Planner as a system enhancement to the HMG model.

Log on to the affiliate dashboard and click ‘Share Your News’ or send directly to   


Check out these new resources shared to the affiliate side of the HMG National website this month:

HMG leads can log on to the affiliate dashboard and click ‘Post a Resource’ or send directly to