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Help Me Grow Washington Network News

2023 Highlights

What a year! We saw the launch of Help Me Grow Washington’s 2023-28 Strategic Plan, designed to unleash the power of the network to weave together state and community systems, providers, and resources to offer a full spectrum of supports to all families with young children in Washington state. As part of its beginning implementation, we established elements of the governance structure, initiated the inaugural Special Project Funding process to Help Me Grow local affiliates, developed and strengthened specialized referral pathways and system partnerships, and wrapped up an initial data project to support our Targeted Universalism journey.

We are excited to share progress made within the nine strategic initiatives, which were identified in our Help Me Grow WA Strategic Plan:

Strategic Initiative # 1 - Establish a Governance Model

The Community Partner Board (CPB) was formed this past July. As the body intentionally lifting up community voice within the HMG WA governance structure, the CPB convenes HMG Local Systems, HMG Connected Communities, and HMG Emerging Communities. This group guides and informs statewide HMG WA network decisions in the areas of funding, branding, partnerships, HMG WA network membership, and infrastructure. The CPB’s main responsibilities include:  

  • Represent local and community perspectives, interests, and needs in the HMG WA governance structure 
  • Advise and provide input on strategic priorities to the Coordinating Team 
  • Request funding and/or propose special projects based on local community interest 
  • Develop and strengthen HMG Local Systems to meet the needs of the community 

Early projects of the group have included co-developing a process for requesting and allocating one-time special projects funding, defining HMG WA Network shared terms and agreements, and outlining purpose and structure for the CPB.

Strategic Initiative #2 - Define Goals and Targets

In our new Strategic Plan, one of the Help Me Grow Washington's first priorities is setting goals, targets, and metrics through a Targeted Universalism approach. As a first step, we needed to understand what data was available and how disaggregated that data can be. From there, we were able to identify potential recommendations for key indicators and compile baseline metrics for these indicators. Through an intensive two-month data collection effort supported by Seva Workshop, we now have a compilation and curation of public and Help Me Grow Washington specific data to support our next steps in the Targeted Universalism framework.


This data compendium, which includes county-level data, helps us

1) understand unmet need for Help Me Grow services across population subgroups, 2) identify gaps in Help Me Grow service utilization, and 3) identify

performance metrics for goal-setting. We plan to share the compendium and Seva Workshop’s report in early 2024.


Efforts in 2024 will center the HMG Network to make meaning of the data, solidify our performance and evaluation metrics, and identify targeted strategies to ensure all families with young children in

Washington are accessing what they need.

Strategic Initiative #3 - Establish New Partnerships

Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP): WCAAP has been a collaborator of Help Me Grow WA in different ways throughout Help Me Grow WA’s journey. This winter, WCAAP and HMG WA state affiliate staff from WithinReach have been connecting to design a collaborative outreach and engagement plan that will focus on areas of opportunity in 2024. Time is one of our most scarce resources, so these connections have allowed us to dedicate time to being strategic and build toward activities that promote our shared goals, like increasing provider well-being, getting more families supported by Help Me Grow support, and increasing developmental screenings. 

Early Care and Education Providers:

Developmental screening is a mounting priority in Washington and the number of early care and education (ECE) providers being trained on developmental screening and pursuing program-wide implementation is increasing. In-house coordination is a sustainable option for many providers and settings; however, for those providers where capacity is limited, developmental screening and follow-up may be difficult to prioritize. In an exciting new body of work, Help Me Grow Washington will explore how their robust developmental screening and navigational infrastructure can be leveraged with the goal of supporting ECE providers to become developmental screening hubs. In recognition of the parallel initiatives and developmental screening activities already in play, the project team is being intentional about learning from both partners and ECE providers and finding alignment before piloting pathways. If interested in learning more, please email larkk@withinreachwa.org.

This initiative will develop amidst two exciting developmental screening efforts in Washington:

Strategic Initiative #6 - Build out Technology, Reporting, and Infrastructure

In early November, WithinReach hosted a community feedback session where we engaged with partners around the Help Me Grow Washington Resource Directory, also known as ParentHelp123. In the meeting, we shared recent improvements to the Resource Directory and hosted small group dialogue to gather feedback around naming conventions for three main categories: Child Development, Parents & Caregivers, and Pregnancy & Birth. Many great insights and recommendations were shared. While some feedback items were immediately actionable, others are long-term changes that the WithinReach team will review and consider how or if they can be implemented. We are grateful for the partnership and perspectives that were shared in the recent feedback session! Stay tuned for continued engagement around this work. 

Strategic Initiative #9 - Coordinate Funding and Advocacy Efforts

The 2024 legislative session begins January 8th. This session we will advocate in support of many of the programs and services that align with the HMG WA Essential Service areas (e.g. food, health, family stability supports, and early childhood development), as well as policies and strategies that keep families and children together. While this is a short legislative session lasting only 60 days, we anticipate there will be a lot of activity for us to support and stay apprised of.

Help Me Grow Local System Updates

Here are a few exciting updates from some of our Local Systems!

Help Me Grow/Ayúdame a Crecer Central WA (Yakima and Kittitas Counties):

HMG Central WA is thrilled to share a significant milestone on their journey! By early 2024, Help Me Grow/Ayúdame a Crecer Central WA is set to launch their inaugural website, accessible in both English and Spanish.

This platform will serve as a vital hub for parents and caregivers, offering valuable insights into the HMG Central WA system, connecting them with the Family Resource Navigator, providing information on upcoming events, and highlighting additional interactive features.

In tandem with the website launch, they are excited to announce the forthcoming inauguration of new Facebook and Instagram pages, where posts will be available in both English and Spanish. These social media channels will play a crucial role in enhancing communication and engagement, ensuring that they connect more effectively with parents and caregivers throughout Central WA. They can't wait to embark on this digital journey with you and further strengthen community bonds. 

Help Me Grow Skagit:

The HMG-Skagit Family Resource Center is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to provide diapers, wipes and formula when needs are identified in the course of their work. Check out the newspaper article here

Another exciting update is that the HMG Skagit Family Resource Center (FRC) staff started using VisionLink for FRC participant intakes and distribution tracking. When they get the kinks worked out, this should strengthen connections between the FRC and the Help Me Grow Skagit Family Resource Navigator, providing more seamless support for families. It will also allow them to capture more complete data about family services and needs.


Resources to Share

  • Check out the upcoming 2024 “Hot Topics in Pediatric Primary Care” CME series that HMG Skagit is hosting! Sessions are open to other providers outside of Skagit; feel free to pass along to others who may be interested! Sessions are free and will be held virtually over Zoom and will rotate between morning and evening sessions. 

  • The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, & Families is hiring for a new Help Me Grow Specialist role. This project position is integral to implement recently funded agency work through the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) and builds momentum and infrastructure for Help Me Grow Washington. This role supports the establishment of the Help Me Grow Stewardship Council, facilitates communication across the Help Me Grow governance bodies, and supports active program and grants management. We look forward to bringing on another team member who is committed to advancing racial equity. The position closes December 28, so please share with your networks! 

Send along ideas and resources for the Help Me Grow Washington website and future newsletters by emailing Keri Nguyen.

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