February is a busy time as we advocate for Help Me Grow in the legislature so that all families can have seamless access to community services and supports. It's also Black History Month and, while Black History should be celebrated and recognized throughout the year, we've taken the opportunity to highlight some resources below. Thank you for all you do to help support Help Me Grow across the state!

News & Resources

For Parents & Caregivers:

Help Me Grow Washington News

Developing a Statewide Help Me Grow System: Perspectives from Families, Service Providers and Administrators

A Help Me Grow Washington (HMG WA) system – envisioned to connect people to resources, and service providers to each other – best works for people when they inform its design. To that end, a team of Child Trends researchers, funded through the Preschool Development Grant, conducted interviews and focus groups with people who use, or whose work is connected to, Washington’s resource and referral systems. The purpose was to identify opportunities and gaps with existing systems for connecting families with services.

In particular, these individuals include parents, caregivers, service providers and administrators who utilize and/or operate programs that serve expectant families and families with young children. The perspectives and recommendations shared in this report (available in English and Spanish) will inform the continued development of a statewide HMG system, including the way coordinated access is designed, engagement is conducted and a data system is selected. 
Welcome New State Action Team Facilitators

Washington Communities for Children (WCFC) has filled all of the HMG WA Action Team Lead roles. To read about HMG Action Teams, and to learn more about the leads, click here. Welcome to the team!

  • Child Health Provider Outreach Lead: Taylor Caragan, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department 
  • Family & Community Outreach Lead: Linden Obel, Northwest Early Learning Coalition 
  • Coordinated Access Point Lead: Jenny Nakata, Independent Contractor 
  • Data & Evaluation Leads: Jenee Myers Twitchell, WCFC; Soleil Boyd, Washington STEM; and Sarah Salomon, WithinReach 
  • Policy & Advocacy Lead: Brittany Hartikainen, Community Minded Enterprises/CCA of Eastern WA 
  • Equity Lead: Julia Kagochi, Kagochi Consulting 
Welcome to the New Senior Manager of Systems at WithinReach

Welcome to Lark Kesterke, the new Senior Manager of Systems at WithinReach! Lark will lead initiatives for Help Me Grow expansion efforts, including the technical assistance and sub-affiliate system support, and the design and integration of parent engagement strategies. Lark has extensive experience in partnership building and leading collaborative community-based initiatives in Snohomish County. In her previous roles, she led coalitions to support young children and families facing barriers due to income, racism and other systems of oppression.
Join Us for Virtual Advocacy Week, February 22 - 25

Washington Communities for Children is rapidly growing its statewide infrastructure, and in alignment with its mission to connect local and statewide efforts, they are collaborating with partners to engage and mobilize Washington communities to collectively advocate for the wellbeing of children and families. We hope you will participate in Advocacy Week! Learn more and register here.
Help Me Grow WA Data Brief

Stay tuned in the coming days for the first ever Help Me Grow Data Brief. The brief showcases our collective accomplishments over the past year in serving families across Washington and establishing a statewide HMG system. 
Help Me Grow National News
Help Me Grow Coordinated Access Workgroup

The HMG National Center hosted a webinar last week sharing the 11 recommendations from the HMG Coordinated Access Workgroup, which are under consideration from the National Affiliate Network and HMG National Center. To view these, along with the rest of the presentation, click here.
Help Me Grow National Strategic Plan

To advance the HMG National Affiliate Network's growth and impact, the HMG National Center has engaged in strategic planning to research and articulate strategic growth priorities for the next five years. Read National's new blog post for more details on the five strategic priorities, including access to and how affiliates can help guide its collective direction. 
Help Me Grow Regional News

In King County:

HMG King County is holding regular meetings with their funded Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). Partner spotlight presentations allow these organizations a chance to learn about each other and seek out ways to collaborate. The CBOs have individually developed work plans and evaluation plans with shared metrics and outcomes. HMG King County is also collaborating with Soar, the lead for the regional early learning coalition, to align efforts for HMG in King County and the HMG regional action teams. 

In Pierce County:
HMG Pierce County recently conducted parent interviews to identify resource gaps in their community that support children in their first year of life. This information will be ready in March to be used to develop community action steps. In January, HMG Pierce County welcomed Rosario as their new Community Outreach Specialist! Learn more about their Leadership team

In Skagit County:

HMG Skagit County will continue meeting with clinics for their HMG Roadshow– an opportunity for medical providers to learn more about HMG. Skagit County seeks to have each clinic assigned to a member of the HMG Skagit County team as their liaison. HMG Skagit County is also working with partners to host a listening session for medical providers with Dr. David Willis in March. 
WithinReach is working in shared leadership with the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families and Washington Communities for Children to guide the design and development of a vision and spread and scale plan for a unified Help Me Grow Washington. This newsletter will promote Help Me Grow efforts and share relevant state and local communications, resources and updates across the network.
Send along ideas and resources for the Help Me Grow Washington website and future newsletters by emailing Taryn Essinger at taryne@withinreachwa.org.
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