All children in California achieve their optimal, healthy development and are supported by a system of developmental and behavioral resources in their communities. – Help Me Grow California Vision
First 5 leads statewide efforts to champion the complex needs of young children and their families through strong, effective and proven systems of care. The Help Me Grow system has been identified by First 5 Commissions to be the perfect framework for advancing local Early Identification and Intervention efforts and unifying our collective message that California must do better to ensure children are linked to the support they are entitled to receive.
We know that California’s system for early identification and intervention has been failing. Despite the increased recognition of the important role that screenings play in detecting developmental, behavioral and physical delays, our state continues to be 30th in the nation for ensuring early identification and linkage to intervention. Even when a delay is identified, families struggle to navigate California’s complex early intervention system: incomplete lists of resources, long waiting lists for services, inconsistent use of screening tools, and the “wait and see” approach leave too many children without the early support they need.
The Help Me Grow System
- increases the likelihood of early identification for children under 5 years old with and at-risk for delays through the use of periodic developmental screening;
- educates families, healthcare providers and community members about the importance of early identification and intervention;
- connects families to a comprehensive and integrated network of services and support accessible within a community; and
- reviews data to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.