Diane Liebe, MD, FAAP
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician
Co-chair, WCAAP Early Childhood Committee
Help Me Grow (HMG) is a national strategy focused on “offering families seamless access to community services and supports so they can easily connect to the resources they need, when they need them.” Washington State has been actively engaged in HMG activities for the past 10 years. However, with recent additional support and grant funding, Washington State is now moving towards full statewide HMG implementation. Under a shared leadership model, Within Reach, Washington Communities for Children, and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), have been building the infrastructure to support implementation of a statewide HMG system. Under this broader statewide system, Within Reach will remain as the HMG State Affiliate, while the intent will be to create a system of regional subaffilates across the state, each representing a geographic area and community. Washington Communities for Children, who already have a presence in communities throughout the state, will assist the establishment of the subaffiliates. The subaffiliates will link to and coordinate with the replication support provided by Within Reach. Across the state, subaffiliates have already begun work in Pierce, King, Yakima/Kittitas, and Skagit Counties.
Help Me Grow is a resource and referral linkage system that helps families navigate the sometimes complex range of services a family may need. It can be a helpful resource for a busy medical provider faced with finding additional services for a family in their office. For example, HMG can assist with finding food banks, links to affordable housing, and early intervention services. At the national level, HMG embraces a system of 4 core components to reach families and children at risk:
- Child healthcare provider outreach
- Family and community outreach
- Coordinated access point
- Data collection and analysis
To support the construction of a statewide system, WA HMG has created Action Teams for each one of these core components, as well as adding two additional action teams: Equity and Advocacy. They have been partnering with the National Equity Project to support constructing a system with Equity and reduction of disparities at its focus. The work of these Action Teams has just gotten underway, but the hope is to have Action Teams that represent the diversity of WA State, its varied community partners, and (most importantly) parents/families themselves.
Information on Washington’s HMG and getting involved in the statewide planning process, including joining one of the WA State Action Team is available at the Washington HMG website: