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The Hands Connected program is a unique approach to providing quality child care to refugee and culturally diverse children by training program-eligible adults to become licensed child care providers. The navigation portion of this program ensures that diverse children and families receive comprehensive support in navigating available community resources, with priority given to those families engaging with the Hands Connected Provider Network. This service is a program of Bethany Christian Services.
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.
TheConnections Program helps families track their child's milestones at home through developmental screenings and then provides monthly activities and age-specific materials to promote the child's learning and growth. Through Connections, each family can also access a Family Support Navigator to answer questions about their child and connect the family to community resources. Navigators work with families to create a child’s custom Thrive by Five plan, an overview of the child’s growth and development over five years that includes fun along the way.
Health Net of West Michigan provides outreach, consultation, and care coordination to parents who need help accessing community resources around basic needs, health care, and early childhood programming.
Strong Beginnings offers support, education, counseling, and referrals for pregnant and postpartum Black and Latinx persons to promote racial equity in maternal and child health. A fatherhood initiative offers services to male partners. Services are offered at home or other locations convenient to clients by racially and culturally responsive community health workers.
Bright Beginnings Home Visiting is a Blue-Ribbon Model Affiliate of the Parents as Teachers program which "promotes the early development, learning, and health of young children by supporting and engaging the parents and caregivers."
The programming expanded services to serve families with identified risk factors in Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kentwood Public Schools, Wyoming Public Schools, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, and Godwin Heights Public Schools.
Baby Scholars is an 11-week program designed to support parents as they teach their children. A certified Parent Coach will come to the home weekly and show how positive parent and child interactions can help the baby’s language, social, and brain development.
MomsBloom's Postpartum Support program provides hands-on and emotional support to parents after they bring home a newborn.
Kent County Healthy Families models positive parent-child interactions. Families establish what they want to work on as a part of the program and have at least one active goal at a time. This home-visiting service is brought to you by Family Futures.
The Incredible Years Home Coaching program conducts home visiting services to expectant mothers and families with children ages 5 and younger living in Kent County. The goal is to help parents feel more confident and effective and strengthen the problem-solving and social-emotional skills of the children. Services are provided by Easterseals Michigan.
Early Attachment Services delivered through D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s increases the attachment between newborns, infants, and toddlers with parents and caregivers using the Infant Mental Health model.
The Little Scholars Program is a one-on-one coaching service for parents and caregivers with young children in their homes. Little Scholars focuses on supporting parents and caregivers in understanding the power of responsive parenting and skills related to the healthy development of their child. Brought to you by Vibrant Futures, learn more here.
Play and Learn GRCC are collaborative, community-based playgroups that strengthen the skills of early childhood caregivers, therefore positively impacting children’s learning. These play-to-learn groups are run by Grand Rapids Community College.
Therapeutic Play and Learn Groups are inclusive playgroups offering activities that are tailored to nurture the development of all children – including children ages 0-5 with a developmental disability. This is a program of the Comprehensive Therapy Center.
Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) offers support for new and expecting parents, including nutrition and lactation consultation, to improve maternal health outcomes and new parent well-being. The MIHP team provides education, coaching, developmental assessment, referrals to community and medical resources, and coordination of prenatal and infant care. Services are provided by a team and can be offered in the home, office, or community setting.
Reach Out and Read Michigan gives young children in Kent County a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. This is a national program brought to you locally by Reach Out and Read Michigan, a dba of Ready for School.
Families with children who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness are connected with Family Services Coordinators, which includes supporting families with young children and connecting them to community resources using a trauma-informed approach. This service is provided by Family Promise of Grand Rapids.
Arbor Circle’s Infant Toddler Developmental Services is a home-based clinical intervention that works with families with young children to build strength and skills, increase bonding between the parent and child, and create a sense of emotional security within the family. Through counseling and other support, parents learn more about themselves and their children and receive guidance for various behavioral concerns and parental issues.
Arbor Circle’s Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) program partners with parents, teachers, and child care providers when a child ages 0-6 is facing any kind of difficulty in child care or preschool. The program provides intervention and support that promote positive social-emotional development of children and ensure a successful early learning experience.
Family Support Services through the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan works with expectant mothers and parents with young children. They focus on the whole family and assist with their basic needs and their child's development to help famiies reach self-sufficiency.
For parents entering the foster care system, with children ages 0-5, the Parent Engagement Program uses 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.
Kent County Health Department (KCHD) offers comprehensive Lead Inspection Risk Assessments that identify the source of lead hazards in a home. If health hazards are found, KCHD can help connect residents with the help they need. Services are available to families in owner-occupied or rental homes. Funding also supports community education and increasing awareness around the dangers of lead paint in Kent County.
Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan provides in-home screenings for lead, asthma, and accidental injury risk, with a trained Healthy Housing Specialist. Families are provided with education, supplies to reduce exposure to the hazard(s), and referrals to other community organizations as appropriate.
Bright Beginnings hosts playgroups throughout Kent County to provide further support to caregivers and age-appropriate activities to nurture the development of children. Bright Beginnings is a program of the Kent ISD.
Easterseals intervenes with children and families to create more positive outcomes utilizing a culturally sensitive and family-centered approach. This includes treatment for behaviors such as trauma-specific infant mental health, intergenerational trauma treatment, child-parent psychotherapy, and Incredible Years parenting support.
Bethany provides one-on-one parent safety education to the culturally diverse families they serve with a focus on Safe Sleep recommendations and car seat safety. Bethany engages qualified experts to educate and train parents and caregivers from within the communities we serve in both infant-safe sleep and car seat safety, providing language interpretation as well as an understanding of cultural parenting norms and experience that is critical when engaging parents. Bethany is able to provide approved pack-n-plays and car seats to eligible parents who receive the individual consultation.
Cherry Health’s Child Safety Program offers parents with young children the resources and education they need to ensure safe transportation and safe sleep. A Community Health Worker (CHW) who is part of Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) coordinates this program and provides one-on-one, personalized instruction to families on how to properly use age-appropriate car seats and cribs.
Family Futures is helping to increase safe sleeping options for families who are unable to afford one for their child. Family Futures will provide education to parents on current evidence-based practices and protective factors associated with safe sleep environments for infants, aligned to American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.
Cherry Health’s Improving Access to Early Childhood Assessments and Treatment Services provides outreach and assistance to families with children ages 0-5 who have been referred for further developmental assessment and treatment. (recipients must be patients at Cherry Health's Heart of the City Pediatrics.)
Family Futures Learning Kits are delivered to three-and-four-year-old children in Kent County who meet household eligibility requirements. Items include items such as pencils, crayons, paper, and fun items to complete activities as well as guidance for caretakers on how each activity can nurture brain development.
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