The Help Me Grow (HMG) Advisory Committee was convened in 2016 to continue the work of the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is co-sponsored by CT’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and United Way of CT’s Child Development Infoline (CDI). It was established to coordinate and integrate early childhood efforts in the state and to ensure that families with young children at risk for negative outcomes have access to information, support and resources. The framework for our goals is to support and advocate for policy that ensures that there is adequate awareness about and access to services directed toward prevention, early identification and the promotion of healthy development throughout childhood.
Our membership includes national, state and local stakeholders, families, advocates, funders, researchers and providers. In addition to the Office of Early Childhood and United Way of CT, which provides the backbone support for the Advisory Committee, other members include: state agencies (Department of Public Health, Department of Children and Families, Department of Education); our early intervention program (Birth to Three); home visiting programs (Nurturing Families Network, Child FIRST); family groups (CT Parent Power, CT Family Support Network, Let’s Build It); the state’s Medicaid Administrative Services Organizations (Community Health Network and Dental Health Partnership); American Academy of Pediatrics; early childhood education programs and advocates (All Our Kin, Early Childhood Alliance); mental health representatives (CT Association for Infant Mental Health, Substance Exposed Infants/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder Workgroup); researchers (University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Center for Social Research); funders (Child Health and Development Institute); national initiatives (Project LAUNCH, Learn the Signs. Act Early., Help Me Grow National Center); and local Strive Together initiatives (Bridgeport Prospers, Norwalk ACTS, Stamford Cradle to Career, Waterbury Bridge to Success). Each member brings their unique expertise and perspective to the work of the Advisory Committee. Built on mutual respect and rich discussions, we reach consensus on how to best to coordinate and integrate early childhood efforts in the state.
Committee members collaborated on creating a consistent and unified marketing campaign, sponsored a day-long conference on developmental screening, made recommendations that focus on early childhood to the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan and sponsored several screenings of the film: Resilience- the Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope on toxic stress and ACES.