High Baby and Toddler Poverty Rate a Wake-Up Call for America
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.3 million infants and toddlers were living in poverty in 2017 – that’s one out of five. While the poverty rate declined for Americans overall, infants and toddlers, during the years of greatest brain development, remained the age group in the United States most likely to live in poverty. A new Zero to Three policy resource comments on the new data showing a nearly 20 percent poverty rate among babies and toddlers. And while the poverty rate is rising among all of America’s youngest children, a new blog post from Child Trends notes the finding to be particularly significant for infants of color, with another post breaking those disparities down by state.

Millions Could Lose SNAP Eligibility
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves a crucial role in protecting our nation’s children and families who are struggling to gain access to necessities like affordable food, reports the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Yet, a new issue brief from nonpartisan research firm Mathematica shows that some changes to SNAP under consideration in Congress would result in one in 11 SNAP households losing eligibility—putting at risk SNAP’s proven ability to reduce food insecurity, lift people out of poverty, help families achieve self-sufficiency, and reduce health disparities.

What Works? Creating Healthy and Equitable Communities
From County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, What Works? Social and Economic Opportunities to Improve Health for All, outlines several policies and programs that support local initiatives to improve educational outcomes, increase income and employment, and build family and social support. There is no single strategy to ensure a healthier community, but by engaging a variety of stakeholders, building strategic partnerships, and communicating, you can start to identify the policies and systems that can create a healthier and more equitable community.

Practical Ideas for Improving Equity and Inclusion at Nonprofits
A new piece from the Stanford Social Innovation Review offers starting points for organizations and initiatives seeking greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Advancing Health Care and Community-Based Organization Partnerships to Address Social Determinants: Lessons from the Field
Through support from Kaiser Permanente Community Health, the Center for Health Care Strategies and Nonprofit Finance Fund developed a set of case studies and resources to inform health care partners and community-based organization working together to address social needs and improve health outcomes for at-risk patients. These materials can help existing and emerging partnerships strengthen their collaborative efforts.

A Growing Focus on Social Determinants Among Hospitals
Boston Children’s Hospital is allocating $11 million over the next three years to programs designed to help families affected by racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities, and indirectly improve their health. The hospital will support about 30 projects aimed at helping Boston families with food, housing, and child development.

The Neighborhood Navigator
Each month, NASHP’s Healthy Child Development State Resource Center features a resource highlighting the important role that screening, referral, and care coordination play in healthy child development. In September, NASHP features The Neighborhood Navigator, a tool from the American Academy of Family Physicians and its EveryONE Project. The Navigator helps family physicians address social determinants of health by linking them to thousands of social services in their area that can provide help with child care, housing, transportation, employment, and legal services. Check out other newly developed resources from NASHP at Healthy Child Development State Resource Center, supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Infographic: Medicaid and CYSHCN
The Catalyst Center has created a one-page infographic illustrating important elements of Medicaid and children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN). This infographic is part of a series of infographics exploring key focus areas in the world of health care financing and coverage for CYSHCN.

New Early Childhood Data Collaborative Report
A new state-by-state analysis reveals that, because early childhood and education data are largely siloed by program and state agency, many policymakers struggle to use these data to improve and support their programs. Better coordination of ECE data and systems can improve the use of data to inform early childhood policies and, ultimately, improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children. Easy-to-use interactive maps and state profiles allow users to explore the capacity of individual states to link child-, program-, and workforce-level data.

Coordinated Home Visiting and Early Care and Education Referrals Can Help Families Get the Services They Need
A third blog in Child Trends’ series on home visiting and early care and education outlines how improved coordination between these two fields can help more families connect with needed social services. Stronger coordination could improve the quality of referrals by connecting home visitors’ knowledge of available services with the deep relationships that ECE providers have with families.

Planning Systems Change Evaluation
In a recent series of Principles-Focused Evaluation workshops featured in the Tamarack Institute’s Engage Magazine September Edition, evaluation expert Michael Quinn Patton reminds us that while evaluation emerged with a strong focus on ‘zooming in’ on programmatic interventions, the field has not kept pace with the ever-increasing focus on ‘zooming out’ to change systems. One area that is not yet well developed is the practice of planning systems change evaluations. Evaluating Systems Change:  A Planning Guide, prepared by Meg Hargreaves, fills this gap as a resource on the topic for practitioners and a must-have in your evaluation library.

Transitions and Alignment from Preschool to Kindergarten
Successful coordination between preschool and kindergarten is integral to the positive school experiences of children. State policymakers can help. A new report from the Education Commission of the States reviews state examples of effective transition programs and practices, and alignment of standards, curricula, instruction, and assessments in early education.

Check out these new opportunities from national partners, shared this month to the FCBB on the affiliate side of the HMG National website:

For continuing updates on opportunities like these, visit HMG National ‘s Funding & Capacity Building Bulletin


Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) Model An Opportunity for HMG Affiliates
A new opportunity was recently announced by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to support states in implementing the Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) model, aimed at improving the quality of care for and reducing expenditures associated with care for children covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. A formal Notice of Funding Opportunity will be released this Fall by CMS for states to apply for awards totaling up to $16 million for a period of 7 years.

To learn more, the National Center has released a brief overview of the opportunity and the relevance of InCK to Help Me Grow. To access the overview recording and more information about the InCK model, including applicant eligibility and timeline, visit the InCK opportunity post on the National Center’s Funding and Capacity Building Bulletin.

Supporting Healthy Development is a Big Bet for Children
A new blog post by Dr. Paul Dworkin introduces the Pediatric Big Bet, a joint initiative from a group of funders and philanthropists embracing a high impact and strategic model of giving. Entering an age where funders increasingly leverage progressive approaches to address the promotion of healthy social and emotional development of our nation’s young and vulnerable children, Dr. Dworkin offers a personal perspective on how to best identify the big ideas that deserve generous funding now made available by contemporary philanthropic practices.

Early Learning Integration Cohort Announced
Help Me Grow affiliates have been selected to participate in the next HMG National Community of Practice (CoP) based on their implementation of critical HMG activities and a demonstrated priority to engage early learning providers. These affiliates will be working together with support from the BUILD Initiative, HMG National, HMG VT, and HMG Orange County, CA to explore strategies to enhance the integration of HMG and the early learning sector. Best practices and lessons learned from this project will be made available to the affiliate network to support system enhancement across the country. Please join us in congratulating the new CoP systems:

  • Alameda County, CA
  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Contra Costa County, CA
  • Long Island, NY
  • San Joaquin County, CA
  • Shasta County, CA
  • Sonoma County, CA
  • South Carolina


Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council Takes Bold Step Toward Supporting Each and Every Young Child and Family
Vermont’s Early Childhood Framework is built around the state’s commitment to realizing the promise of every Vermont child. On July 23, the Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council (SAC) took a bold step forward in specifying exactly what that means for each and every child and their family. The SAC joined the Agency of Education in endorsing principles for Supporting Each and Every Young Child and Family’s Full and Equitable Participation, also known as the Vermont Guiding Principles.
For the past two years, an interdisciplinary, interagency, and cross-sector work group including members of the Building Bright Futures network, has been drafting the Guiding Principles to explicitly and intentionally articulate Vermont’s commitment to achieving the full potential of each child. The Vermont Guiding Principles went through a state validation process in which close to 92% of respondents fully endorsed the content of the document.
“The Vermont Guiding Principles evolved over a two-year process that included a statewide input session and validation process, guidance from families about what they expect and prize in the people and systems who support them, and many conversations among the cross-sector work group. This process helped clarify how we can all better support children and families and ensure services and supports are relevant and responsive,” said Janet Kilburn, HMG Vermont Statewide Coordinator at the Vermont Department of Health. “By being explicit and intentional about what it means to support each child’s full participation, these principles can help individuals, leaders, agencies, organizations, and funders to both examine and align their work and improve health equity and optimal child development for all children.”
Resources and materials are in development to support implementation with some already available, including:

  • collections of free, annotated resources have been compiled for supporting children who are dual language learners, inclusive practices, family engagement, building resilience, and more
  • a set of personas that help professionals to examine their attitudes and practices
  • a set of questions to use to gather information from families about what’s really important to them

HMG Mississippi Launches
HMG Mississippi (HMG MS) is leveraging a strategic partnership with the MAC Centers, a system of call centers located across the state through the MS Planning and Development District, to serve as the HMG centralized access point and provide information, referrals, and linkage to services for children. The MAC Centers have historically focused on serving the elderly and disabled, and through this partnership, MAC Center expands its mission and in turn, HMG MS advances a multi-generational approach to efficient and comprehensive support for Mississippi families. HMG MS is also leveraging extensive work accomplished through previous HRSA-funded state implementation grant efforts to develop an electronic resource directory of services and programming intended to support linkages among children with special health care needs. Now HMG MS family & community outreach efforts will build out this substantial resource directory to include all early childhood resources across the state.
A current soft launch for the HMG MS centralized access point draws from households contacting the MAC Center for its traditional services and at the same time, implements a test cohort of referral providers comprised of targeted pediatric practices, mental and behavioral health programs, and child care centers located in the Hinds County area. Following the soft launch, HMG MS will initiate a public awareness campaign in partnership with a local media outlet, including billboards, radio, and television spots, at which point HMG MS will be open to receive calls directly from families.
“The HMG Mississippi Team is excited about the partnership with the MAC Center to launch the HMG call center. This partnership is making it possible for thousands of children and families, providers, educators, and physicians to be readily linked to appropriate services. Over the next two months, HMG MS will be live and fully accessible to all Mississippians. The HMG National Center has provided technical assistance at every level and has successfully assisted with developing a strong foundation to implement the system model in Mississippi,” states Dr. Linda West, Executive Director of Mississippi Families for Kids. 

From Inception to Full-Grown: Launching HMG Alaska One Baby Step at a Time
In 2015, a team of 5-6 Alaskans traveled to Orange County, CA for their first HMG National Forum. The team, a mix of State, Tribal Health, and United Way 2-1-1 representatives, was part of an ad-hoc leadership team exploring whether HMG would be a good fit for Alaska, a state with a population of less than 1 million, sprawled over an area mostly inaccessible by land and one fifth the size of the Continental U.S.
In 2017, through a process of formal and informal network mapping, Alaska’s Title V grant managers selected the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership (AAPP), a small one-person nonprofit with a home office and a statewide reach, as the appropriate entity to lead the charge of implementing HMG Alaska (HMG AK) as its backbone agency. HMG AK embarked on a journey to operationalize the system model, partnership by partnership, starting with the three place-based regions selected for the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) grant awarded to the state around the same time. The contract allowed for the doubling of staff by adding a HMG program director, and the capacity to contract with thread, Alaska’s early learning & child care referral network to operate the HMG centralized access point.
HMG Alaska launched in January 2018 with three care coordinators newly trained to respond to HMG calls, a Wiki page populated by excel spread sheets to serve as an initial resource directory, and a link to the ASQ 3 on the HMG page of the AAPP website. Most recent progress includes a relaunched HMG AK website and another expansion in staffing. With the support of additional grants, HMG AK has expanded its staff again with the hiring of Rachel Boudreau, LCSW, serving as a half-time program specialist working directly with the system’s care coordinators and coordinating HMG outreach with the ECCS community liaisons.

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