Help Me Grow Alabama is partnering with 2-1-1 call centers statewide, allowing every Alabama family the opportunity to make confidential calls regarding their child’s developmental or behavioral concerns. The Alabama Partnership for Children became a licensed affiliate of the Help Me Grow National Network in 2011 to implement this proven model supporting children’s optimal development by linking families to community-based programs and services.
With new funding from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, Help Me Grow Alabama is expanding to the nine 2-1-1 regions serving all 67 counties in the state. The United Way’s 2-1-1 Connects Alabama is a statewide network of regional call centers that provide free easy access to health and human services available throughout Alabama.
“Once implemented, every family in Alabama will be able to dial 2-1-1, ask for Help Me Grow Alabama and speak with a care coordinator who will answer questions, connect them to services, follow up to ensure a connection is made and enroll them in developmental surveillance if interested” said Katie Naman, Help Me Grow Alabama Coordinator.
Nearly one-third of Alabama parents say they have a concern about their child’s health or development. Help Me Grow Alabama provides the critical service of identifying concerns early when interventions are less costly and more effective. Health care and early learning providers also use Help Me Grow Alabama to refer families for additional assistance and developmental screenings.
Help Me Grow Alabama was originally launched through the United Way of Central Alabama’s 2-1-1 call center with funds from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. In 2014, Project LAUNCH provided additional funding to include The University of Alabama’s Child Development Resources Parenting Assistance Line and expand services to a total of 14 counties.
“We will be moving quickly in each new region, and we thank the pioneers in Central and West Alabama who have laid the foundation for us to follow” said Gail Piggott, executive director of the Alabama Partnership for Children.
In the coming months, the Alabama Partnership for Children and 2-1-1 Connects Alabama will begin hiring and training seven care coordinators to serve all nine 2-1-1 regions. The expansion includes the following 2-1-1 regions: 2-1-1 Information and Referral of North West Alabama in Florence, 2-1-1 HELPline in Huntsville, 2-1-1 First Call for Help in Gadsden, 2-1-1 Connects South Central Alabama in Montgomery, United Way 2-1-1 Community Connections in Auburn, United Way of Southwest Alabama in Mobile and Wiregrass United Way 2-1-1 in Dothan.
More information about Help Me Grow Alabama can be viewed here: http://www.smartstartalabama.org/programs/?pageID=51