Friday, May 13, 2011

Help Me Grow - Free Orange County Family Resource Service

Help Me Grow Orange County connects hundreds of families every year to services that address their concerns for their children that have often been told they are fine by their physician, but the mother suspects otherwise.

"We always encourage mothers to trust their instincts when it comes to their children," said Rebecca Hernandez, program manager for Help Me Grow. "We know from not only our own experience with parents, but also from several studies that parents are often more accurate predictors about what is happening with their child progress. In fact, physicians are encouraged to listen more closely to these concerns that parents and especially mothers express."

Help Me Grow serves children birth to six years and their families through its toll free line at 1.866.GROW.025 (866.476.9025). When a mom calls, a Care Coordinator listens to her concerns and will educate and refer to services that may best assist the child and family. They also help the parent navigate the "developmental services system," which can often be intimidating and confusing.

"Many moms who call us are at the point where they know that there is something happening with their child that is not typical," Hernandez said. "It can either be as simple as mild delay or sometimes more severe. Either way, moms are usually frustrated because their concerns have been dismissed or not taken seriously. That's why they really appreciate us-we listen and help!"

Funded by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, Help Me Grow's services include:
  • Listening to parent and caregiver concerns to help them decide which services can address the needs of their family.
  • Providing referrals to services that are free or low-cost. Connecting families to developmental screening opportunities for children under 5 year of age.
  • Conducting care coordination and follow-up to see if providers were accessed and if there are any other services that are needed.
  • Finding resources for parents of all income levels, cultures and languages.

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