West Virginia kicks off a new initiative Friday aimed at helping children who are considered at-risk for developmental challenges.
It’s called the Help Me Grow Initiative and it currently is being replicated in 18 states, including West Virginia.
“It focuses on the early detection of young children who are at risk of developmental and behavior problems and the linkage of those young children and their families to community based programs and services,” said Dr. Paul Dworkin, Director of the Help Me Grow National Center.
On Friday morning, the West Virginia Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health will be hosting an informational summit at the Charleston Marriott in downtown to officially launch it’s affiliation with the program.
Medical providers and state agency heads will come together to learn about the program, where West Virginia sits in regards to the program, and discuss how to move forward in actually implementing the program.
According to a recent Center to Bridge Research, Practice & Lab article, developmental disabilities affect an estimated 13 to 17 percent of children in the United States and between 10 to 13 percent of infants and toddlers experience developmental delays.
Dworkin said the program helps.
“When we see the first signs of children whose development is not optimal, we know that by linking those children and their families to developmentally stimulating, developmentally enhancing programs it will make a difference,” said Dworkin.
The summit will get underway at 10 a.m. with a keynote address by Dworkin, followed by several other presentations and concluding around noon with a Q&A with state program leaders.
Dworkin said West Virginia has the pieces in place to build this program, it’s just a matter of putting them all together and moving forward. He is confident the state will be successful.
Help Me Grow was first launched in Hartford, CT and began operating as state wide system in 2002.