Help Me Grow Nebraska
Finding the right health care resources can be overwhelming, especially for families with young children. Early childhood health systems are often disconnected and difficult to navigate, which can lead to inadequate support and services for families.
Help Me Grow promotes early identification of developmental, behavioral, or educational concerns, then connects children to community-based services at no cost to their families. Help Me Grow is a national model that utilizes existing resources to address community issues and reduce disparities in early childhood health systems.
An initial assessment of Lincoln and Lancaster County’s early childhood health care system revealed weak parent and family supports, and gaps in mental health services. In response, community stakeholders created a systems framework designed to target those issues. The Help Me Grow Nebraska initiative was launched in 2019 with a mission to nurture every child on the path to success.
At the heart of Help Me Grow Nebraska is a centralized access point (CAP) that provides referrals for families to early childhood services in the area. The CAP allows users to call Help Me Grow through the United Way of the Midlands’ existing 2-1-1 Helpline, a free and confidential service available to families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Help Me Grow Partners
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center serves as the backbone organization for Help Me Grow Nebraska and oversees a Leadership team with over 40 individuals, representing 15 different Nebraska organizations. Help Me Grow Nebraska applies the collective-impact model and weaves together partner assets to build greater communication and collaboration across the community.
Other CAP partners include the Center on Children, Families and the Law, whose Answers4Families provides online support and information for Nebraskans with special needs, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute, which provides additional care coordination services to those needing higher levels of support. Collaborating organizations include the Prosper Lincoln Early Childhood’s Comprehensive Health Work Group, First Five Nebraska, the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children, the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Lincoln Littles. Area physicians and early childhood stakeholders from various state agencies, such as the Nebraska departments of Education and Health and Human Services, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and the Nebraska Early Development Network are also involved.
How Does Help Me Grow Work?
Contact Help Me Grow by calling 2-1-1 for resources that address concerns about health, development, behavior, and learning.
A care coordinator will listen, provide support, and assess the needs of your child and family.
Help Me Grow will offer free screenings to help provide insight on your child’s developmental and behavioral skills.
A care coordinator will communicate the screening results with your family and provide appropriate referrals to local services and support.
Scheduled follow-ups will occur to inquire about previous referrals given and any concerns that your family may have.
For more information, visit helpmegrownebraska.org or contact Rick Helweg, Help Me Grow Program Manager at [email protected]