N5 A2942

Ready by Five Service Locator

Since voters approved the Ready by Five Early Childhood millage in November 2018, $13 million has been invested in Kent County early childhood services and programs. These are available to Kent County children and families and include parenting education, early learning, and healthy development programs. The millage also supports outreach and navigation services to help families know what resources and programs are available and how they can access them.

Below is a way to sift through the programs and services based on what you may need for your family.

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The Hands Connected Network by Bethany Christian Services

The Hands Connected Network is a unique approach to providing quality child care to refugee children while training program-eligible adults to become licensed child care 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.

Help Me Grow Kent

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.

Family Futures

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

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.

Navigation services are also 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 Client Services Team.

Strong Beginnings - Healthy Start

Strong Beginnings is a partnership of seven agencies dedicated to enhancing the health and wellbeing of African American and Latinx mothers, fathers, and babies from pregnancy through early childhood. Our team of community health workers (CHWs), nurses, and counselors will visit you to help you have a healthy pregnancy, provide personal support, share information, help you handle the stress that comes from pregnancy and parenting, and connect you with community resources.

Bright Beginnings by Kent ISD

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 through Spectrum Health

Baby Scholars is a 10- to 11-week child development program designed to help parents help their children reach their full potential and be ready for kindergarten. A certified Parent Coach will come to your home and show you how positive parent and child interactions can help your baby’s language, social, and brain development.

In-Home, Hands-On Postpartum Support by MomsBloom

In-home, Hands-on Postpartum Support provides practical and emotional support for parents of newborns in Kent County, particularly those in underserved communities. These services are provided by MomsBloom.

Healthy Families Kent County by Family Futures

Healthy Families Kent County works to monitor and model parent-child interactions. Families will establish personal goals as a part of the program and will 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 through Easterseals Michigan

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 through D.A. Blodgett - St. Johns

Early Attachment Servicesdelivered 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.

Little Scholars by Vibrant Futures

The Little Scholars Program, brought to you by Vibrant Futures, is a one-on-one coaching service to parents and relative caregivers with young children delivered in homes. Little Scholars curriculum is delivered through weekly coaching sessions over the course of 11 weeks and focuses on supporting parents and caregivers in understanding the power of responsive parentings and skills related to the healthy development of their child.

Play and Learn GRCC

Play and Learn GRCC is a collaborative, community-based partnership that strengthens the skills of early childhood caregivers and educators. This play group is run by Grand Rapids Community College.

Play to Learn by Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

Neighborhood-based play groups at partnering sites enrich quality early learning experiences for young children. They are open to all families and home-based providers. Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) runs these play groups. Find more information here.

Therapeutic Play and Learn Groups by Comprehensive Therapy Center

Therapeutic Play and Learn Groups are structured using the Kaleidoscope Model and the Success Basics framework. These groups are tailored specifically to be effective for the families of children with developmental disabilities. This is a program of the Comprehensive Therapy Center.

Little Learners Play Group through Vibrant Futures

Little Learners is a playgroup-centered service delivered to caregivers, parents, and children in various child care, schools, and community-based settings. Little Learners integrates and embeds key child development strategies along with literacy enhancements into the play context. This program supports increased quality interactions and literacy outcomes while your children are in play activities. Our education specialist will come to you to provide support and training during weekly 90-minute sessions. Brought to you by Vibrant Futures, learn more here.

Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) through Cherry Health

Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) is a parent support and coaching program for pregnant mothers and infants. The MIHP team provides education, support, 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 brought to you by Ready for School

Reach Out and Read 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 Ready for School, the Reach Out and Read West Michigan affiliate.

The Connections Program by Family Futures

The Connections Program involves parent coaching combined with developmental screenings. A part of the program includes learning kits with age-appropriate materials, delivered to three- and four-year-old children in Kent County. These learning kits come with guides for parents on how to use the materials at home. This program comes to you from Family Futures.

Infant Toddler Developmental Services by Arbor Circle

Infant Toddler Developmental Services (ITDS) is a home-based service that provides clinical interventions to families with children ages 0-5 where the parent-infant attachment or child’s healthy development needs support. ITDS works with families in their home or community to help parents/care providers build strengths and skills, bond with their children, and create a sense of safety and emotional security in their family. Through counseling and other supportive services, parents learn more about themselves and their children, discover new ways to build relationships with their infants, and receive guidance for a variety of behavioral concerns and parental issues, including depression and anxiety. ITDS is the work of Arbor Circle.

Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) by Arbor Circle

Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) is a program that offers comprehensive support and consultation to child care providers, teachers, and parents when a child ages 0-5 is facing any kind of difficulty in child care or preschool. The program provides intervention and support so children have a successful experience in their early education. KEEP pairs mental health professionals with early care and education staff and families to promote the positive social/emotional development of children in care.

Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

The Hispanic Center supports expectant mothers and parents with children age five and younger by providing them with opportunities to access resources and programs to enhance the development of their children. The focus on the whole family to assist with their basic needs will help them reach self-sufficiency.

West Michigan Partnership for Children

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

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is offering home health screenings to pregnant residents and families with children five years old and younger. This service assesses potential health hazards in a home. KCHD is then able to educate families on what to do if your family has been exposed as well as ways to limit future exposure. 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.

Cherry Health

Lead causes serious damage to children's brains even at relatively low levels of exposure—the effects of which are largely irreversible. Early detection is key and testing for blood lead levels is quick and easy! Cherry Health offers a simple “finger-prick” lead screening in their pediatric department at Heart of the City Health Center.

Healthy Homes of West Michigan

Intake for case management and navigation will come through screenings conducted by partnering home visiting services and referrals from a myriad of local partner agencies and healthcare providers seeking in-home support to address lead hazards and reduce asthma triggers. Services will be provided in the home and will commence with a trained Healthy Homes Specialist completing a more comprehensive home assessment for lead, asthma, and accidental injury risk.

Bright Beginnings Playgroup by Kent ISD

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.

Health Development by Easterseals

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.

Child Safety Initiatives from Bethany Christian Services

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.

Child Safety Passenger Program by Cherry Health

The Child Safety Passenger Program offers parents with young children the resources and education they need to ensure their children have safe, age-appropriate car seats. A Community Health Worker (CHW) who is part of Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) will coordinate this program and offer one-on-one, personalized instruction to families on how to properly use car seats.

Child Safety by Family Futures

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.

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