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WV launches Help Me Grow

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CHARLESTON, WV (March 15, 2013) – The West Virginia Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health today launched its affiliation with Help Me Grow, a national system focused on identifying and then connecting at-risk children and their families with community-based programs and services to address developmental needs.

 As part of the kick-off, the national director of Help Me Grow, Dr. Paul Dworkin, delivered a keynote address to medical providers who will implement the program on a local level.

 The Help Me Grow affiliation will augment the efforts already in place through the West Virginia Home Visitation program. A free referral service, Help Me Grow utilizes both the West Virginia 2-1-1 shared resource database to connect families to available resources and community networking to gather information about current services that can be made available to families.

 "West Virginia's pathway to affiliate status and its implications for the continued expansion of Help Me Grow and its National Center is noteworthy," stated Dr. Paul Dworkin, director of the Help Me Grow National Center. "Unlike all other affiliates (with the exception of Connecticut), West Virginia requested affiliation because the model appeared to strongly support the integration of the state's home visiting program with its Strengthening Families philosophy and would bolster West Virginia's birth to age three early childhood needs."

Designed by a pediatrician, Help Me Grow helps physicians and parents support childhood development from birth to age five. The program serves as an information and referral service to connect parents with local community service providers and provides linkages to the child's physician. Parents who are concerned about development are encouraged to complete a short questionnaire by physicians and through a variety of early childhood programs. The results of the questionnaire are submitted to Help Me Grow who will then provide the family with information on appropriate developmental milestones and encourage parents to contact their medical provider with questions. For families who enroll with Help Me Grow, a parent-reported developmental screening will be provided for each child at key milestones. Help Me Grow may contact the child's parent to suggest any appropriate services.

Parents can also call Help Me Grow directly at 1-800-642-8522 for assistance or visit www.dhhr.wvgov/helpmegrow for more information.

"An affiliation with Help Me Grow provides a centralized hub for medical providers, early childhood programs and families," said Jackie Newson, Director of the West Virginia Home Visitation Program. "By building a comprehensive system, we are able to better meet the needs of families through easy developmental screening and connection to appropriate services based on identified needs. This could help identify children early and link them with appropriate medical services and resources needed."

 To access services through the Help Me Grow initiative, parents or grandparents can call Help Me Grow at 1-800-642-8522 to speak with a care coordinator. If parents, grandparents, or caregivers have questions about a child's development, behavior or learning; if they need support to access developmental services; or if they want to help a family member or friend find out more information about developmental services, they should call Help Me Grow.

 

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