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Help Me Grow is a coordinated, community based infrastructure that promotes trans-disciplinary, family-centered services for expectant parents, newborns, infants, toddlers and their families. The program is designed for pregnant women and parents with children
0-3 years of age. Free services assist in identifying risk factors, disabilities, and delays that would negatively impact a child’s ability to start school healthy and ready to learn.
Ohio’s Help Me Grow program is administered by the Bureau of Early Intervention Services (BEIS), Ohio Department of Health. It is the responsibility of BEIS, with the advice and input from the Ohio Help Me Grow Advisory Council, to develop and distribute information on policies and procedures related to the operation of Help Me Grow.
Lorain County has a population of over 11,700 children between 0 to 3 years of age. The Lorain County Children and Families Council and its contracted agencies provide service coordination to over 2,000 families with children 0 to 3 within our county. It is estimated that about 5% of Lorain County children may be at risk for a delay or disability with 3% being identified as having a diagnosed disability, delay, or medical condition.
To Assure that newborns, infants and toddlers across Ohio have the best possible start in life.
The Lorain County Children and Families Council, a department of the Lorain County Commissioners, plans, coordinates, and administers the Help Me Grow program. The following goals have been identified:
• All expectant parents and families of newborns, infants and toddlers who desire services are identified, evaluated and served.
• Traditionally under-served expectant parents and families with newborns, infants and toddlers will be identified, assessed, referred, screened, evaluated and served, if eligible, in accordance with the family's concerns, priorities and resources.
• Expectant parents and families with newborns, infants and toddlers will receive desired services and supports to enhance the development of the eligible child and family members.
HMG Program Service Components
The HMG program has eight program components available to families. Depending on the needs of your child, you may qualify for services at no charge to you or your family:
• Central Intake and Referral: All referrals for HMG services are received through the Children & Family Council Central Intake Office. Referrals are made by calling the TOTS Line at 1-800-729-TOTS (8687) or faxing a referral form to (440) -284-4628.
• Prenatal Visit : A Registered Nurse will conduct a home visit and provided education materials to the soon to be mother and assist in referring her to a medical provider.
• Newborn Home Visit : A Registered Nurse will conduct a home visit and provide educational materials to the new mother concerning her baby’s development. The RN also conducts a health assessment of the newborn and mother. A referral may be made for on-going services once the assessment is complete.
• Home Visiting Services : Home visiting services are conducted in the privacy of family’s home. A HMG professional conducts developmental and health screenings of the child, conducts a mental health screening of the mother, and provides support to the family. Continued sessions provide information and education on parenting and child development to the mother. Referrals to other services may be made at this time.
• Individual Family Service Plan Development : All HMG services are guided by a Individualized Family Service Plan that is developed and signed by the parent and other team members. The ISFP is monitored by HMG professional to ensure families are receiving appropriate and quality care until children are transitioned from the HMG program.
• Family Support Services : Specialized services are provided to all HMG families. These services include parent to parent support contacts and group activities. A family support specialist holds monthly support group meetings in Lorain County for parents of children with disabilities and parent with multi-birth children.
• Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation for Developmental Delays : Evaluations are conducted by professional Early Intervention Specialists to assess the social/emotional, communication, cognitive, physical, and adaptive needs of a child.
• Specialized Services (Must meet eligibility guidelines): These services include respite services, transportation, and early intervention services. The Ohio Department of Health maintains a system of payment for the provision of these services under the HMG if a child is found to meet all required eligibility guidelines.
- Selena Candelario
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