By Rachel Perry, United Way Worldwide
One in seven young children has a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And more children go undiagnosed each year due to inaccessible health services or a lack of awareness about local support systems.
Help Me Grow, which offers developmental and behavioral screening for children, is getting a boost from local United Ways and 2-1-1. Together, they’re the centralized access points for 55 percent of the Help Me Grow systems in the U.S. They’re connecting people to child health, behavior, development and learning resources; providing parents with answers to their child-development questions; and ensuring children can participate in developmental screenings.
And it’s making a difference. Recently, a mom in Florida called 2-1-1 because she didn’t know what to do about her toddler being kicked out of day care for behavior problems. 2-1-1 connected her to a Help Me Grow Coordinator, who then connected the child to therapy and the mom to developmental evaluation tools. 2-1-1’s care coordinator helped the mom get an appointment quickly with experts, who found the child had developmental delays. Now, he’s in a smaller child care setting with more teachers and fewer kids. “I’m so grateful to Help Me Grow,” she says. “It’s such a relief. He’s like a different child now.”
Every day, 2-1-1s are helping children and families in need. Last year, 2-1-1 provided 200,000 connections to education resources; 40,000 connections to child development screenings, and 100,000 connections to early childhood education and literacy programs or child care providers
Learn more about 2-1-1 by visiting TN 2-1-1 Online.