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.
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.
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.
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.
Help Me Grow Inclusion Specialists work with early childhood educators to support children in the classroom and make connections to other Help Me Grow team members for additional family support, referral navigation, and linkage to longer-term early intervention service pathways.
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.
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.
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.