A Portrait of Growth and Impact: Help Me Grow – Long Island

The Help Me Grow – Long Island (HMG-LI) Annual Report is subtitled “A Portrait of Growth and Impact” as it represents a snapshot of operations from October 2018 through the end of September 2019. But also because the data from this 12-month period gives a vivid picture of HMG-LI’s steady growth and increasing role as a key component of early childhood systems building on Long Island. Given the current state of our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, this has become more important than ever.

HMG-LI is committed to regularly reviewing data in order to inform future directions, spur quality improvement and hold ourselves accountable to the goals of promoting optimal development of young children across Long Island.

In summary, the report shows:

  1. HMG-LI is reaching a population of young children and parents that skews towards young children (< 3 years old) and is racially and ethnically diverse. It receives referrals and parent calls from across the Island, from Elmont to Orient.
  2. Families find HMG-LI through many paths and with a variety of concerns. However, whether for basic needs or developmental supports, families become partners themselves, learning to advocate for their children and access previously unknown supports.
  3. HMG-LI has successfully built partnership with physicians who account for a significant percentage of referrals to HMG-LI. These partnerships simultaneously build out the Long Island referral resource network for families, to address concerns from basic needs to developmental supports, leading to a connection rate of 84% where the outcome was known.
  4. Our commitment to collecting and using data can inform partnerships and start to transform disconnected systems into connected systems that more efficiently and effectively serve families where and how they need the help.

During the completion of this report our lives and those of the families we serve were turned upside down by the COVID19 pandemic. Rarely can you build a new network in the middle of a crisis – what works most efficiently is taking a process or system that functions well in normal times, and pivoting it toward the unique needs of that crisis. HMG-LI has successfully pivoted to serve as a network of resources in assisting families in need during this crisis. For example:

  • During the first 6 weeks of New York State’s PAUSE the number of families utilizing HMG-LI more than tripled
  • 92% of families have been seeking basic needs in the past month – diapers, food, etc.
  • Uptake of the offer to complete a developmental screen when families called for basic needs skyrocketed
  • Physician referrals initially dried up, with most families finding out about us through social media, friends, and family
  • Now, after 6-7 weeks of NYS PAUSE, we are seeing a return to calls and referrals related to developmental concerns
  • Bright By Text, a national program that provides families with developmental promotion tips and supports reached out to offer access to their system for the remainder of 2020, in light of the effects of the pandemic. This allows us to continue to support families, even after they have their initial needs met by HMG-LI.

This pivot would not have been possible if the infrastructure of HMG-LI did not exist pre-pandemic. We look forward to the day when our call volume returns to normal and families are less in a crisis mode. But for now, we are proud to be there to connect families to meet their immediate needs during the pandemic, while building a foundation for relationships that will allow us to promote optimal developmental outcomes for Long Island’s youngest children.

Read the Portrait of Growth and Impact, and be in touch with Docs for Tots if you wish to join the HMG-LI referral network, and the amazing HMG-LI collective impact partnership that supports the Long Island community of families with young children.

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