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Help Me Grow Washington Network News

We are excited to share progress made on four of the strategic initiatives in the Help Me Grow WA Strategic Plan.

Photo of Heidi Larsen, Help Me Grow Specialist

Establish a Governance Model

DCYF has hired a new staff member in support of the Help Me Grow Network! Heidi Larsen, Help Me Grow Specialist, will spearhead the establishment of the Help Me Grow Stewardship Council, facilitate communication across the Help Me Grow governance bodies, and develop strategic communication channels among state agency and system partners to enhance Help Me Grow's reach and impact. We look forward to introducing her as she onboards in the coming weeks and months! 

Establish New Partnerships

Help Me Grow Washington and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics have been hard at work meeting health care partners in local communities. At Open Houses hosted in Oak Harbor and Stanwood, participants learned about HMG and spent time discussing their existing referral process and discovering what ways HMG could support them. There was conversation around the struggles providers face in being able to address their patients' non-clinical needs and celebration for the ways they were already working on these connections. The road show moves to Ellensburg and Yakima later this month and will wrap up for the summer.

Help Me Grow Washington and the Washington State Hospital Association are embarking on an exciting new partnership with the intent of identifying areas of synergy and collaboration. With growing interest in work related to supporting pregnant and parenting people who experience substance use disorder, there are multiple areas where this partnership can grow to enhance the work of both organizations. As we anticipate the shared goal of onboarding all birthing hospitals onto the updated Plan of Safe Care (POSC) protocol by January 1, 2025, this partnership is being developed at

an important time. The Washington State Hospital Association will support rollout and promotion of future training efforts.

Develop Specialized Referral Pathways

Substance Use Disorder-Pregnancy (SUD-P): DCYF identified six community-based organizations who are serving as the official partners for the Pregnant People with Substance Use Disorder HUB pilot. The goal of this initial phase of the pilot, which began in early 2024, was to strengthen a system of support for pregnant people navigating substance use disorder who are initially referred to CPS and are screened out due to the child not having been born yet. WithinReach/Help Me Grow Washington was identified as the center of the hub and spoke model, the other organizations spokes are First Legal Clinic, Kitsap Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP), South Sound 211, American Indian Community Center, and Spokane Regional Health. Between the six organizations, nine counties were served through this pilot.

The referral and data collection processes were developed jointly between all organizations represented to provide robust complete referral information and connect families to services more quickly. July 1, 2024 will be the start of the statewide expansion efforts, with the goal of providing this specialized pathway to pregnant people who use substances across the state.

Help Me Grow Washington Childcare Referral Pathway: Child Care Development Funds (CCDF) are being used to leverage Help Me Grow Washington’s robust developmental screening and navigational infrastructure with the goal of supporting Early Care and Education (ECE) providers to become developmental screening hubs. The Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) Online Pilot ran for six weeks with nine ECE providers and concluded

on June 7. During that time, providers used ASQ Online to manage screenings in their center and connected families to Help Me Grow,

as appropriate.

We are now meeting with pilot participants to learn about their experiences and gather feedback. The primary goal of this pilot was to assess the impact of a program designed to provide diverse Early Care and Education (ECE) providers across Washington state with technology access to conduct developmental screenings for the children under their care and their families. One of the key aspects of this pilot is its potential to connect parents and caregivers with personalized resources tailored to their child’s needs.

Through a partnership with Help Me Grow Washington, parents and caregivers will have the opportunity to access resources if needed, enhancing the support available to families. We are excited to share the outcomes of these feedback sessions with you, and the insights gained from the pilot participants.  

Define Goals and Targets

In early June, WithinReach hosted a Targeted Universalism (TU) Foundational Training for HMG WA Local Systems and other system partners. Facilitated by the Seed Collaborative, the training’s purpose was to develop shared language regarding concepts related to TU as well as introduce or enhance understanding of TU and its application. This foundational training will support the HMG WA Network in the late summer and fall as we work together to identify Help Me Grow Washington’s performance metrics and system outcomes and develop focused strategies to advance them. 

Help Me Grow Local System Updates

Help Me Grow Central WA

Help Me Grow Central WA is thrilled to announce that our website is now live and available in both English and Spanish! Our primary goal with this website is to communicate with parents and caregivers about what HMG Central WA is, the services we offer, and to connect families with our Family Resource Navigator. The site is also a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about our work and connecting with us.

This month, we are also introducing the HMG Central WA Facebook page. We encourage you to take a moment today to like and follow our page, and to share it with anyone who might be interested in learning more about Help Me Grow Central Washington. 

Grays Harbor

On May 20, the Grays Harbor Early Learning Coalition hosted an in-person Help Me Grow Coordinated Access and Referral meeting. Fourteen early childhood and family resource professionals learned about the newly launched Bright by Text community event page where they can submit a local resource or event to be sent out to local Bright by Text subscribers. Attendees also participated in a coordinated access point activity. Small groups read through several reality-based family scenarios and then identified the current supports available and the pathways to get families to the resources they need. The large group share out highlighted questions around knowing if a family accessed a referral/resource made by a early childhood staff, being unsure if they are providing the correct resource to the family, a need for translator and interpreter services. The group identified that a Resource Navigator would be beneficial in their community!   

Help Me Grow Skagit

Help Me Grow Newborn Outreach launched in May! Liz Cooksey is our new outreach nurse who meets families in the hospital at Skagit Valley Hospital’s birth center. She welcomes them with a gift, signs them up to receive developmental and local resource information through Bright by Text, and invites them to the newly launched Play & Grow baby group. If families need additional support, she connects them with our Help Me Grow Skagit Resource Navigator or other community supports. In less than a month, Liz did outreach visits with 28 families! 

Photo of Liz Cooksy, Outreach Nurse

On May 13, Help Me Grow Skagit partnered with Skagit Public Health and Community Action of Skagit to host a convening of Community Resource Navigators. Over 70 people attend a day full of networking and learning and plan to stay connected through the monthly virtual Community Resource Network meetings, hosted by Community Action, and gather in-person twice per year. 

Resource to Share

Save-the-Date for the 2024 Help Me Grow National Forum! This year the forum will be a one-day virtual event held on Tuesday, December 10, 2024. The HMG National Forum is an exciting opportunity for HMG affiliates and their partners to network, learn from one another, and develop new and supportive connections across the HMG community.

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

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