Help Me Grow

Screen. Engage. Respond. Connect.

Across the city, approximately 14% of children entering kindergarten have some form of special need, including speech and language delays, learning disabilities, and emotional behavioral disorders. And yet, less than half of children who could benefit from early intervention services are actually identified before reaching kindergarten—despite the availability of tools for conducting universal developmental screening.

of San Francisco children have not had a developmental screen by kindergarten entry, a critically important step to supporting their healthy development.

of children with special needs still do not receive the services they need—meaning that they lose up to five years of interventions that could help them succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

Since its inception, First 5 San Francisco has emphasized that when influential people in a child’s life work together, it energizes positive outcomes, increasing access to wraparound services and eliminating gaps in the physical, social, and academic areas of early development.

Help Me Grow represents a momentous step forward in a long-term vision to better unite city services around children’s healthy development and success. By shifting and connecting critical systems of early intervention and support, Help Me Grow SF is strengthening families and enabling all children to reach their full potential.

How Help Me Grow SF Works

Help Me Grow SF brings together families, health care providers, and early educators to ensure that all children receive developmental screenings in early childhood, and that those who need it receive access to early intervention services. The result is a comprehensive 0-5 screening history for each child in San Francisco, clear referral pathways for providers, and continuity for families receiving supports.

Connecting Critical Systems of Care

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Children birth to three years are screened in pediatric primary care settings. Pediatric clinic staff engage parents in supporting their children’s development and connect to Help Me Grow for additional family support, navigation of community referrals, and linkage to longer-term early intervention service pathways.

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Children aged three to five years are screened in city-funded child care and family child care settings. Help Me Grow Inclusion Specialists work with early childhood educators to support children’s learning needs within the classroom setting and make connections to other Help Me Grow team members for additional family support, navigation of community referrals, and linkage to longer-term early intervention service pathways.

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Help Me Grow acts as liaison between the various programs and professionals in a child’s life. Help Me Grow brings providers together across service sectors, encourages collaboration and information sharing, and supports the implementation of consistent strategies in home, schools, and community settings.

The Help Me Grow SF Process

Help Me Grow SF brings together families, health care providers, and early educators to ensure that all children receive developmental screenings in early childhood, and that those who need it receive access to early intervention services. The result is a comprehensive 0-5 screening history for each child in San Francisco, clear referral pathways for providers, and continuity for families receiving supports.

  • Screen

    Help Me Grow SF partners with early educators to establish and enhance universal developmental screening practices (e.g. administering the ASQ), so that all young children in early care and education settings can have timely access to a screening before kindergarten.

  • Engage

    Help Me Grow SF works with early educators to implement a whole classroom approach to early intervention. Help Me Grow SF leads to a collaborative planning process to review and confirm screening results and also strategize next steps at a classroom level.

  • Respond

    When development concerns have been identified for a particular child, or group of children, the Help Me Grow SF Team is available for on-site coaching with providers, parents and other professionals to identify child-focused support strategies and create team-based Child Support Plans, individualized to each child and outlining agreed-upon action steps across care settings.

  • Connect

    Families and children who need help accessing community resources and early intervention referrals through the Golden Gate Regional Center and/or San Francisco Unified will be connected to a Help Me Grow SF Care Coordinator. The Care Coordinator will assist with navigating eligibility requirements, service barriers, transition points, service linkage and coordinating with primary care providers. Care Coordinators will ensure that families and providers stay informed and aligned on child’s progress along the way.

The Role of Healthcare Providers

A healthcare provider is often a family’s primary resource during a child’s first three years. Well-child visits provide regular opportunities to conduct developmental surveillance in addition to addressing parents’ concerns about their child’s development. Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends three developmental screenings, at set intervals, before a child turns three years old.

I Am a Healthcare Provider. What Can I Do?

  1. Learn more about screening and access helpful resources by visiting the California Healthcare Provider Developmental Screenings Toolkit.
  2. Reach out to the Help Me Grow SF team at info@helpmegrowsf.org, to learn more about how Help Me Grow SF can support you to provide developmental screenings to all children in your clinic or practice.

The Role of Early Childhood Educators

Early childhood educators play an essential role in supporting children’s learning and development in the critical time before kindergarten. By conducting developmental screenings, early educators are able to recognize and support, through classroom planning and family engagement, children’s unique developmental needs.

I Am an Early Educator. What Can I Do?

For sites with a 1, 2 or 3 rating in the area of Health and Developmental Screening:

  1. Help Me Grow SF will work with you to establish and enhance developmental screening practices (e.g. administering the ASQ), so that all young children in ECE settings can have timely access to a screening before kindergarten entry.
  2. Help Me Grow SF will help you take a whole classroom approach to early intervention. Help Me Grow SF will enter screening data and create a customized Classroom Profile, leading to a collaborative planning process to review and confirm screening results and strategize next steps at a classroom level.

For all early learning programs:

  1. When developmental concerns have been identified for a particular child, or group of children, the Help Me Grow SF Team will provide on-site coaching with providers, parents, and other professionals to identify child-focused support strategies and create team-based Child Support Plans, individualized to each child and outlining agreed-upon action steps across care settings.
  2. Help Me Grow SF Care Coordinators are available to help families and children access community resources and early intervention referrals. The Care Coordinator will assist with navigating eligibility requirements, service barriers, transition points, service linkage and coordinating with primary care providers. Care Coordinators will ensure that families and providers stay informed and aligned on a child’s progress along the way.

These services are available to all early learning sites by emailing info@helpmegrowsf.org. A response can be expected within 24 working hours.

Help Me Grow SF is a partnership between First 5 San Francisco, the Office of Early Care and Education, and the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families.
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