Save the date for the Strengthening Help Me Grow King County: Partnerships to Support Young Children and Families RFP!

The Strengthening Help Me Grow King County: Partnerships to Support Young Children and Families RFP will be released later this week!  Read more to learn if this funding opportunity is right for you!

Most parents or caregivers of young children can attest that raising safe, happy, healthy, thriving kids takes support.  We are fortunate to have many services and resources that can help connect and support families in King County.  But too often it’s hard for families to learn about or connect to those services – or to find other families to connect with and get support from. 

Families and providers want better connection to services and resources

Families in King County are eager to connect quickly and easily to support, services and resources.  We hear from families that they want more coordinated access to supports; better referral and follow-up practices; and more family-centered tools and services in their culture and language.  Families also want to learn about resources and information through organizations and community members they trust, who respect the knowledge and agency parents and communities hold.  Further, families want to build relationships within their communities. A Community Café participant asked Best Starts to: “Create a trustworthy network with people that look like us; people we can go to get help in the system, information and resources.  That we have relationship with.” (See our earlier blog series highlighting what we heard from families about the successes, gaps and disparities related to developmental screening, referral and connection to services in King County.)

Providers also want to coordinate better amongst each other in order to serve families better.  They’ve challenged Best Starts for Kids to fund more partnership across organizations:

“Bring CBOs [community based organizations] from across community to do this work and direct how dollars are spent based on how they can coordinate better – doing what they do best.

A workgroup participant

Coming RFP – Strengthening Help Me Grow King County: Partnerships to Support Young Children & Families

Best Starts for Kids wants to work with community agencies to ensure services are easy to access.  Help Me Grow King County will strengthen capacity within and between existing organizations, extending supports to serve more families more effectively.  This RFP joins two parallel approaches in Best Starts: Help Me Grow King County and Developmental Promotion for children and families from prenatal to 5 years old.

Approach 1: Establish a Help Me Grow King County network of coordinated access partners to connect families and communities to timely, services and resources in their language that match their culture. 

These partners will work together to share and strengthen how they connect and refer families, how they maintain a quality resource directory, how data is collected and shared – all while strengthening coordination and collaboration amongst these organizations so families get the best out of the whole system.  Help Me Grow King County works closely with Help Me Grow Washington, a program of WithinReach.

Approach 2: Improve access to high-quality, holistic developmental screening and connections to services that support children’s developmental progress throughout their early years.

Identifying children under age six who may have developmental or behavioral concerns through robust developmental screening and linkages is a key aspect of the Help Me Grow model and arose as the highest priority in the Developmental Screening and Referral Strategic Plan which was created through a 18-month, community-advised research project.

Two other priorities of the Strategic Plan will also be included in this RFP: a) strengthening the workforce to improve the screening experience for families; and b) programs that support the challenging transitions of early childhood services, namely from Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT, also known as early intervention) services to Early Childhood Special Education services.

Keep an eye out for the RFP announcement!

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