When Parents Decline Developmental Screening

SFP_6424When staff at the Bay Point First 5 Center observed that a two-year-old boy attending classes wasn’t speaking at all, they broached the subject with his mom. She quickly replied, “He’s fine. I know what he needs.”

Primary caregivers, such as parents, know their children best. Talking to a family member who is uncomfortable about getting developmental screening for their child can be a delicate dance. Here’s how staff at the First 5 Center approached it.

The First 5 team first acknowledged that the mother is the expert on her child. The staff explained that developmental screening is one way to help her learn more about her child’s development. They also suggested she enroll her son in a literacy and sign language class to boost his language and speech. She declined the screening but tried the class.

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Help Me Grow Contra Costa

helpmegrowblog-991x1024Early screening and intervention lead to the best outcomes for children with developmental concerns, but most delays aren’t identified until after children enter kindergarten. On top of that, when concerns are detected, families often have a challenging time finding the services they need. The Help Me Grow system aims to change that.

Help Me Grow (HMG) is a system to coordinate early detection, referral, and treatment for children with developmental or behavioral concerns. The system is used in more than 20 states, including California.

First 5 Contra Costa and partners have successfully led the effort for Contra Costa County to become a HMG affiliate, the eighth county in California to earn this distinction from the national Help Me Grow Center. As an affiliate, Contra Costa will receive training and technical assistance to build a more comprehensive early development system. We also gain access to best practices and research to replicate the HMG model locally. Continue reading

New Program Helps Parents Take Next Steps to Recovery

Next StepsA new program in Contra Costa County is helping parents recovering from substance abuse to maintain their sobriety and focus on improving their parenting skills and relationships with their children.

Called Next Steps, the program aims to improve the relationship between parents and children since a healthy parent-child relationship is critical to a child’s optimal social and emotional development.

This relationship, however, is often interrupted or strained by parental substance abuse, which is one of the most common risk factors for child neglect or abuse.  If untreated, parental substance abuse can lead to permanent long-term health concerns or developmental delays in children.  Improving parenting skills and confidence can also prevent parents in recovery from relapsing.

We’re allocating $300,000 to support Next Steps, which is implemented by Contra Costa Health Services (Behavioral Health Services) and Contra Costa ARC/Lynn Center. Our partnership with Contra Costa Health Services nearly doubles the budget for the program by securing an additional $250,000 in matching funds from Medi-Cal. Continue reading

Meeting the Developmental Needs of Homeless Children

The holidays are a stressful time of year for many families. But imagine if you were a family without a home.

Staff at SHELTER, Inc.’s Mountain View family emergency shelter tell the story of a little boy who entered the shelter last December. He did not have warm clothing, his shoes were several sizes too large, and he had been ill while on the streets. At their intake at the main office, when staff asked the little boy about his Christmas, he replied that Santa could not find him or had forgotten about him. When the family arrived at the shelter an hour later, there were new clothes and a large bag of toys from Santa waiting for him. Continue reading