In 2018, four assessments were completed by the Lincoln Early childhood Network Early Childhood Comprehensive Health Working Group as a part of a community-driven strategic planning process called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) to get a better understanding of the early childhood health status and community themes and strengths in Lincoln/Lancaster County, Nebraska. These assessments revealed four strategic issues:
Disconnected and Siloed Early Childhood Health Community System, including uncoordinated and ineffective cross sector communication
Inequity and Disparities in the Early Childhood Health System, including inequity in affordability, access, and promotion of healthy foods as well as barriers to medical and behavioral health services
Inadequate Parent and Family Supports
Gaps in Services and Protective Factors for Mental Health
Once these issues had been identified, the group worked to identify a framework with which to best address the issues as a community. Help Me Grow (www.helpmegrownational.org) was found to be a solution that works to address the identified issues by helping to create greater equity and reduce disparities in early childhood health systems. Help Me Grow (HMG) is a system-building framework that leverages community strengths and focuses on family-centered solutions. The system is built around four core components:
Family & Community Outreach: In Lincoln/Lancaster County this component is the Support for Parents Working Group of the Lincoln Early Childhood Network supported by a Maternal Child Health Block Grant (MCH).
Child Health Provider Outreach: This work is led by Dr. Erica Peterson from Bluestem Health and Dr. Bob Rauner – Supported by a Preschool Development Grant (PDG)
Data Collection & Analysis: This work is led by Lorey Wheeler, Co-Director, Nebraska Academy for Methodology, Analytics and Psychometrics at UNL and Kristen Derr, Project Manager for Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) at UNLs Center for Children, Youth, Families and Schools.
Centralized Access Point: This work is led by a team of partners from United Way of the Midlands/2-1-1, The Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC, and the UNL Center on Children, Families and the Law. Supported by Preschool Development Grant (PDG) funding.
We're always looking for new and exciting opportunities to connect as a group. Please see our contact information on the right if you wish to reach out. We welcome it!