Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
Children with developmental, behavioral and/or emotional disorders are falling under the radar. Without diagnosis and treatment, these kids can affect families and impact societal costs related to mental health, education and juvenile justice. And even when a child is diagnosed, physicians often struggle to provide families with all the necessary services. In an effort to increase early detection of such disorders in children and make needed services more readily accessible to families, Connecticut launched the Help Me Grow program. The program teaches health providers methods in effectively diagnosing children’s disorders, maintains an inventory of community-based programs ready to serve these children’s specific needs and offers a call center where families can quickly connect with appropriate programs. The Children’s Trust Fund, the Department of Education, the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Public Health and United Way of Connecticut help cover the program’s annual $650,000 price tag. To spread the success of the program, five states – Kentucky, New York, Oregon, South Carolina and Colorado – will receive assistance in implementing HMG in their state.