Outreach and Navigation
Outreach and Navigation services educate parents about resources available to support healthy child development and early learning and connect them to programs in the community. They engage expectant parents and parents of young children, with a strategic focus on those with the highest needs.
Central Intake Navigators. These four organizations can direct any family looking for local early childhood resources or programs.
- Family Futures Connections Program provides families with the knowledge and confidence to track their child's development at home through the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Along with the quiz at home, Connections provides monthly activities and age-specific learning materials to promote the child's development. Each family also has access to a Family Support Navigator to answer questions about the child's development and connect the family to resources in the community. Family Futures works to reach families through marketing efforts to ensure all are offered the opportunity to engage in early childhood services.
- Health Net of West Michigan works with multiple health care systems and community-based partners. Their Client Services Team provides outreach, consultation, and care coordination to parents who need help accessing community resources and early childhood programming.
- Help Me Grow Kent offers referrals to community organizations for families who are supported by a Care Coordinator that offers individualized care plans. Resources available include basic needs, childcare, and preschool, among others. Help Me Grow is a jointly run system between the Great Start Collaborative and Kent ISD that is available to any family living in Kent County with a child prenatal through five years old.
- The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan supports expectant mothers and parents with children aged 0-5 by providing them with opportunities to access resources and programs to enhance the development of their children. They will focus on the family as a whole and assist with their basic needs to help them reach self-sufficiency.
Niche Navigators. These navigation experts serve a specific population within Kent County. Each program reaches families and directs them to the available resources.
- The Hands Connected Network is a unique approach to providing quality childcare to refugee children while training program-eligible adults to become licensed childcare providers. The navigation portion of this program will ensure children and families enrolled in the network will be connected to a Refugee Navigator, who will provide comprehensive support in navigating available community resources. This service is a program of Bethany Christian Services.
- Families that are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness work with Family Services Coordinators within our Emergency Services Programs. This work includes supporting and connecting families with young children to community resources using a trauma-informed approach. This service is provided by Family Promise of Grand Rapids.
- Navigation services are provided to children and families engaged in foster care services through a targeted case management approach, forming a wrap-around service team with the foster care caseworker, family of origin, foster family, and Health Net’s Early Childhood Case Management Team. This service is provided by Health Net of West Michigan.
- For parents entering the foster care system, with children ages 0-5, the Parent Engagement Program will use a trauma-informed approach focusing on communications skills, support with navigating the child welfare system, increasing understanding of early childhood development, and relationship building. The program will equip, engage and involve parents to prevent re-entry into the foster care system and support timely reunification. This service is provided by the West Michigan Partnership for Children.