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Help Me Grow Washington News

Help Me Grow Washington Announces New Strategic Plan

We are excited to announce the launch of our 2023-28 Strategic Plan, designed to unleash the power of the Help Me Grow Washington 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. 

Created in partnership with key stakeholders, community leaders, tribal partners, policymakers, families and caregivers, and healthcare providers, this plan sets the course for Help Me Grow Washington’s future and lays out six focus areas and nine strategic initiatives that we’ll work to accomplish in the next five years. 

We invite you to read the full plan! Email HMGWA@withinreachwa.org or visit the Help Me Grow WA website to learn more about how you or your organization can join in the momentum.

Additionally, please join us for a Lunch & Learn webinar on Tuesday, August 1st (noon-1pm) to learn more about the strategic plan and explore the various ways you can plug into Help Me Grow. Click here to register for the event! 

Help Me Grow WA Tribal Adaptations Project Update

In April 2022, the Help Me Grow Washington state affiliate, WithinReach, partnered with a Native-owned firm in Spokane, Washington, Kauffman and Associates, Inc.,(KAI). The purpose of this joint work was to engage with tribal nations and Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) in the State of Washington and to work toward ensuring the Help Me Grow (HMG) system model embraces each UIO and respective tribal community in a culturally responsive way. This project concluded in April 2023. Both WithinReach and KAI would like to thank all the people who generously gave their time to share their thoughts. 

Through this project’s broad engagement with tribes, UIOs, local communities, and state agencies, key insights were provided to help shape a set of recommendations and next steps for this work, which include:

  1. Integrate HMG into existing tribal programs. A priority and theme across the interviews focused on finding areas to integrate HMG components into existing programs rather than create duplicative efforts.
  2. Apply an Indigenized Approach for suggested adaptations. The intergenerational approach starts by connecting with the tribal elders and then taking their guidance to community leaders directing tribal programs, before engaging with families and children.
  3. Elevate interviewees’ specific recommendations for HMG adaptations. Recommended actions include engaging with tribes to explore HMG system design, hiring tribal community members to provide HMG resource navigation and support, and developing a resource directory specific for services rooted in tribal communities.

As the HMG Washington Network moves forward, the next phase of this learning process is expected to begin this summer, again contracting with KAI. Read the full update to learn more about the Tribal Adaptation project.

Help Me Grow Legislative Session Update

The 2023 Washington State legislative session was a long session, which means it lasted for 105 days and included the business of writing the full 2023-25 biennial budgets. A total of 474 bills passed the legislature during the 2023 session. Some of the main issue areas of focus this session included behavioral health, housing and homelessness, special education, climate change, and reproductive health.


We were especially excited to see increased funding provided in the final budget for Help Me Grow, as well as for efforts to prevent child placements in the child welfare system, which includes funding for Plan of Safe Care. There were a lot of other great investments made through the budget in programs and services to help families. Some highlights include:

  • Funding for a diaper benefit for those on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Increased access to health coverage for uninsured people
  • Home Visiting Expansion
  • ECEAP expansion and provider rate increase
  • Tribal early learning grants and early learning equity grants

There were also several great bills that passed this session. A few highlights include:


SB 5225 - Increasing access to the working connections child care


SB 5581 - Developing strategies to reduce or eliminate deductibles for

maternal support services and postpartum care

HB 1447 - Strengthening the ability of assistance programs to meet

foundational needs of children, adults, and families

HB 1784 - Concerning hunger relief


These provide just a snapshot of some of the exciting successes from the 2023 legislative session. We were excited to see the broad and bipartisan support for investments and policies that support Washington families. 

Local Help Me Grow System Updates

Central WA

Help Me Grow Central WA supporting Yakima and Kittitas Counties is guided by the Investing in Children Coalition and Yakima Valley Community Foundation. On May 30th, the Investing in Children Coalition partnered with Sunnyside United-Unidos to co-host the Key Leader Luncheon event. Sunnyside United-Unidos is an organization dedicated to reducing substance use among youth in our community. Lindsay Boswell and Carina Gonzales shared about Help Me Grow Central WA work that is happening. 

The event was a terrific success, with over 125 community members in attendance. We were delighted to have the Sunnyside High School Mariachi Band open the event with a breathtaking performance. Their contribution was truly outstanding, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for their time and participation. 


The Key Leader Luncheon provided attendees with a valuable opportunity to network and gain insight into the important work carried out by the Investing in Children Coalition and Sunnyside United-Unidos in our community.  

As we reflect on this year’s event, we eagerly anticipate the upcoming Key Leader Luncheon in the following year, filled with more opportunities to inspire and make positive impact. 

Island County

Help Me Grow Island County has spent a lot of time designing and updating their new Help Me Grow website. We are happy to share that it has recently launched, check it out!  

San Juan County

Help Me Grow San Juan County continues work related to resource directory information. This includes collecting and curating local resources for adding to the HMG WA Statewide Resource Finder. Another project is developing HMG San Juan County outreach and material toolkit in preparation for the San Juan County Fair that will be held August 16 - 19.

Skagit County

Help Me Grow Skagit hosted an Evening Reception: Developmental Dialogue for Health Care Providers that occurred on June 8th. It was a space to connect and learn about child development resources with a spotlight on Help Me Grow Skagit, the Family Resource Navigator, and health provider engagement in Help Me Grow! 

Skagit County received funding through the Omnibus bill and the Department of Commerce FRC's grant. These funds are supporting a pilot project with WithinReach to build out a workflow and VisionLink interoperability between their Help Me Grow Family Resource Navigator and Skagit Family Resource Center staff. To date, the team has built a new workflow design and built the forms to support the new workflow in VisionLink. The goal is to utilize VisionLink for more seamless referrals between the Help Me Grow Skagit Family Resource Navigator and Skagit Family Resource Center staff.  

Whatcom County

Help Me Grow Whatcom is currently exploring the coordination between their local Help Me Grow Whatcom system, specifically their Single Entry Access to Services (SEAS) contact center and the Statewide Help Me Grow Coordinated Access Point (CAP). This is through a pilot project that is mapping out the Help Me Grow Essential Services and assessing needs and current capacity.

Statewide Help Me Grow Hotline (operated by WithinReach)

The Plan of Safe Care (POSC) has been an initiative of DCYF, with the Statewide Help Me Grow Coordinated Access Point (CAP). The POSC implementation team has been engaged in a number of activities to increase utilization of POSC referrals, improve education and training to hospital staff, and update parent-facing materials.

A POSC is a referral to Help Me Grow. When there are no safety concerns at the birthing event, the referral to Help Me Grow serves as a way to divert families away from Child Welfare. Most recently, the team in partnership with First Legal Clinic hosted two parent listening sessions to get parent feedback on hospital messaging and materials. These new materials will be distributed across the 63 birthing hospitals in Washington State. They will also be shared back with the parent focus groups.

Resources to Share

  • The Help Me Grow National Forum will be held in person on October 11th to the 13th in Fort Worth Texas. Registration will open soon. A one-day virtual forum will also be held on October 17th that will highlight the work that Help Me Grow affiliates from all over the country are doing. Consider joining to learn more from your peers in the Help Me Grow Network. Not a HMG WA sub-affiliate? That’s okay! The virtual forum is a great opportunity to learn from folks like those at public health departments, pediatricians, and childcare providers who are all focused on promoting child development broadly. This event is only in English.

  • Are you a provider or a parent/caregiver interested in learning more about supporting a child's milestones? The CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early has free printed materials (including books) and an app that you can download to your phone! Checklists, activities, videos, and more are available on their website. Available in Spanish, too!

  • Have you seen our new 30-second HMG WA video? We recently created a video that shares a story about someone using Help Me Grow. Feel free to use in your communities to help describe what the Help Me Grow experience is like! There will be a Spanish version coming in the future.

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

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