Santa Ana, Calif. – June 8, 2017 – Help Me Grow Orange County, a local leader in developmental promotion, early detection and connection to developmental services for young children and their families, took home the top honor at the inaugural 10K Innovation Challenge at the 2017 Help Me Grow National Forum. Help Me Grow Orange County has received funding from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County since 2005.
The Innovation Challenge was created by the Help Me Grow National Center and Connecticut Children’s Advancing Kids Innovation Program to recognize the importance of innovation in promoting children’s healthy development. Help Me Grow Orange County was selected for its innovative and collaborative efforts in partnership with Quality Start OC’s Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS) to improve developmental screening rates for children in family childcare settings.
This innovation effectively utilizes collaboration, technology, and the Help Me Grow system infrastructure to improve the screening rate for these children; ensure the results are shared between parents, early care and education providers, and child health care providers; and make certain children identified with developmental problems are referred for services.
Core components of the partnership include combined staffing efforts, linked technology and co-branded collateral materials available in both English and Spanish. The screening questionnaires are automatically scored using an online system and results are automatically imported into the Help Me Grow Orange County database for intake, referrals and care coordination. These results are also shared with families and primary pediatric care providers.
Leveraging QRIS and Help Me Grow resources has allowed Orange County to create a more effective and efficient developmental screening and referral system for children in childcare settings.
“We are elated to have won the 10K Innovation Challenge,” said Rebecca Hernandez, manager of Help Me Grow Orange County. “Our participation allowed us to highlight our partnership with Help Me Grow and Quality Start OC’s Quality Rating & Improvement System. Utilizing integrated technology, this innovation creates a more accessible and efficient process to conduct developmental screening for young children in family childcare and we are certain these children are connected to services because they are easily linked to Help Me Grow.”
Help Me Grow Orange County was selected out of the 28 Help Me Grow affiliates who were invited to submit proposals. As the winner of the challenge, Help Me Grow Orange County received a $10,000 award from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the continued growth and development of their innovation, with a goal of scaling it from a local success story to one impacting children and families across the entire Help Me Grow national network.
“We are proud to see Help Me Grow Orange County take home the top honors at the 10K Innovation Challenge,” said Sandra Barry, Commission Chair, Children and Families Commission of Orange County. “The national competition gave us an opportunity to show the innovative and impactful work being done here in Orange County and to serve as the model for replication across the country.”
For more than 16 years, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County has been a leader in responding to children’s needs and supporting programs with demonstrable positive impacts on pediatric health and early learning opportunities. For many years, one of the Commission’s main investments in pediatric health services has been towards supporting young children’s development and the importance of early developmental screenings through Help Me Grow Orange County, and other partners.
Parents, caregivers, and providers can call Help Me Grow Orange County at 866-GROW-025 (866-476-9025) or visit www.helpmegrowoc.org to get help in navigating the developmental services system in Orange County.
About the Children and Families Commission of Orange County
The Children and Families Commission of Orange County oversees the allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. More than $24 million was allocated in FY 2015/16 to fund programs where more than 2 million services were provided to children ages 0-5. Funds help pay for early education, pediatric primary and specialty health care, children’s dental, homeless prevention, and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age 5 and their families. The Commission’s vision is that all children are healthy and ready to learn. For more information, please visit www.first5oc.org.