National Center News and Resources

Help Me Grow National Center Receives Grant to Explore Innovative Technologies in Pediatric Well-Child Care

The HMG National Center received a $205,000 grant as part of the Pediatrics Supporting Parents initiative to explore the demand for and feasibility of a large-scale intervention within the pediatric setting to support clinicians and families in promoting children’s optimal health and development. This funding supports a growing portfolio of HMG National Center efforts that are focused on HMG as a catalyst to integrate and align early childhood models and approaches. The HMG National Center will advance this work in partnership with leading experts, including the innovators behind the following models:
  • The Survey of Well-Being of Young Children
  • The Welch Emotional Connection Screen
  • FINDconnect
  • The Cycle of Engagement resources, which include The Well-Visit Planner and The Promoting Healthy Development Survey
The funder, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, represents a number of leading U.S. foundations pursuing early childhood development innovations.

Meet the Newest Member of the Help Me Grow National Center!

Join us in welcoming Cassandra Therriault, the newest member of the HMG National Center! As a Program Coordinator, Cassie provides assistance in the enhancement, assessment, and research initiatives that support the HMG National Center mission.

Read about Cassie’s background on our team page or send Cassie a message to introduce yourself and welcome her to the HMG Network! 

2019 Help Me Grow National Forum Resources Available 

Several resources from the 10th Annual HMG National Forum are now available!

Click here to access a variety of presentation materials, handouts, and more from the three days of networking and idea sharing to implement HMG across the country. Access to these resources will be restricted to those with a HMG affiliate login beggining August 5th. 

HMG Affiliate News and Resources

Help Me Grow DC Hosts First Community Event
by Help Me Grow DC

Help Me Grow DC (HMG DC) hosted their first Books and Blocks Developmental Screening event at the Dorothy I. Height Library in the Benning Road Neighborhood! Approximately 70 families attended the event and three families participated in developmental and behavioral screenings. Books and Blocks is an interactive parent event that gives parents and caregivers a fun opportunity to obtain information about child development, developmental screenings, and community resources.  The day was filled with activity stations focused on literacy, math, and fine and gross motor skills. The purpose of the event was to educate DC residents on the importance of developmental milestones, parent education, and community engagement. Members of DC Health and community leaders attended the event to support HMG DC on their first major community event.  For more information about HMG DC, click here.

Dad to the Bone: Engaging Fathers in Child Development

Dad to the Bone is a fatherhood initiative and podcast based out of Wayne County, Michigan where three dads “talk about dad stuff” and are working with the local HMG team to engage a community of fathers and enhance the lives of children. Trained by the National Fatherhood Institute, Sam Anderson, Rich Colón, and Quinn Wright provide parent outreach, support parents in the use of Ages and Stages screenings, and consult on and provide professional development for fatherhood projects both locally and nationally.  They also write, produce, and mix the Dad to the Bone Podcast! They presented a breakout session during the 2019 Help Me Grow National Forum and recentlyheld a webinar with the HMG National Center. Be sure to check them out! 

Have news or resources that you want to share? E-mail Stephanie Luczak at sluczak@connecticutchildrens.org to share.

Community of Practice Corner

In partnership with the FrameWorks Institute, the HMG National Center’s FrameLab Community of Practice is focused on improving the messaging of HMG and the importance of building a comprehensive early childhood system. Grounded in research, the FrameWorks Institute offers a range of tested strategies to improve messaging around early childhood development and system building. 

The FrameLab Community of Practice concluded with a second in-person training on July 11th and 12th in Hartford, CT. Alongside the National Center, 13 HMG affiliates learned new strategies to refine and enhance their messaging. Throughout this Community of Practice, affiliates worked to apply framing strategies to existing or new communications materials. Examples include:

  • Help Me Grow 101 presentation
  • Information for community partners 
  • Brochure for parents in physician’s offices 
  • Help Me Grow rack card

Stay tuned for more about how we can bring these framing strategies to the entire Help Me Grow network!\

National Center Research Review 

Universal Approach to Promoting Healthy Development: Introducing the Issue
by Dr. Paul Dworkin, HMG National Center Founding Director

There continues to be growing realization that to enhance child development while simultaneously reducing adverse outcomes at a population level, the strategies deployed must be universal yet targeted in their approach, and our public policies must reflect this overarching universality. A recently published article in The Future of Children provides a comprehensive summary of evidence supporting several interventions utilizing this approach. Within their concise but impactful introduction, the editors validate many of the key concepts that inform our collective efforts of diffusing evidence-based innovations and building a comprehensive early childhood system.  This includes: promoting a universal approach with a targeted focus on those at-risk for adverse health, developmental, and behavioral outcomes; supporting community-based efforts that occur in a variety of settings; and ensuring that early detection leads to assessment and intervention. Their review of promising evidence of several programs demonstrates how these concepts can be operationalized in an impactful way.
Daro, D., Dodge, K.A., Haskins, R. (2019) Universal approaches to promoting healthy development: Introducing the issue. The Future of Children, 29(1), 3-16.

A Critical Assessment of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study at 20 Years
by Stephanie Luczak, HMG National Center Program Coordinator

Upon the 20th anniversary of the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, a recent commentary celebrates the impact of this study on policy and practice. It also examines the significant limitations of the study, pointing out that the study ignores the impact of social inequities, underemphasizes generational trauma, fails to acknowledge the role of protective factors, and does not lend itself to a larger policy approach to trauma prevention. As a way to improve practice and policy responses in light of these limitations, researchers and practitioners should work towards creating more accurate indicators to gauge the impact of social inequities, underscore the importance of trauma across generations, work to understand the role of protective factors, and move toward integration of a preventative approach inclusive of policy solutions increasing equitable access to resources that support resilience. 
McEwen, C.A., Gegerson, S.F. (2019). A Critical Assessment of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study at 20 Years. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 56(6), 790-794.

A Justification for Screening for both ACEs and Protective Factors: A Study Exploring ACEs and PFs and School Engagement 
by Erin Cornell, HMG National Center Associate Director

Using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, this study captured child exposure to both adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and protective factors (PFs), and their relationship to child outcomes in school. Results indicate that negative school outcomes were associated with higher ACEs scores as well as lower scores in protective factors, including items such as safe neighborhood, supportive neighbors, family meals during the week, and a parent that could talk to the child. Analysis determined that whether a parent could talk to the child about things and share ideas emerged as the strongest protective factor, in that it was associated with the highest reduction in negative outcomes. The authors conclude that “pediatric providers should consider screening for both ACEs and PFs to identify risks and strengths to guide treatment, referral and advocacy.”
Robles A, Gjelsvik A, Hirway P, Vivier PM, High P. Adverse childhood experiences and protective factors with school engagement. Pediatrics. 2019; e20182945.