N5 A2942

Ready by Five Service Locator

The Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage funds programs and services that improve the healthy development and school readiness of all children ages zero through age five. These are available to Kent County children and families, including 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 to 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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Hands Connected Parent Navigation Services by Bethany Christian Services

Early Childhood Navigation through Bethany Christian Service’s Hands Connected program connects children and families to a Refugee Navigator, who provides comprehensive support for families to navigate available community resources.

Family Futures Connections Program

Family Futures Connections Program helps families follow 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.

Health Net of West Michigan

Health Net of West Michigan offers outreach, consultation, and care coordination to parents who need help accessing community resources for basic needs, health care, and early childhood programs.

Strong Beginnings - Healthy Start

Strong Beginnings offers support, education, discussion groups, counseling, breastfeeding cafes. 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 by Kent ISD

Kent ISD’s Bright Beginnings Home Visiting program provides proven methods that help caregivers understand their child’s early development, identify possible developmental concerns, and build a foundation for later academic success.

Baby Scholars

Baby Scholars is an 11-week home visiting program designed to support parents as they teach their children, specifically African American and Latinx families with children 5-48 months old. 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.

Hands-On Postpartum Support

MomsBloom's Postpartum Support program provides hands-on and emotional support to parents during the first six weeks after they bring home a newborn.

Healthy Families Kent County

Kent County Healthy Families focuses on addressing risk factors, promoting positive parent-child interaction, making connections to resources, and providing child development, and positive parenting practices education. Families are screened for several types of risk, including lead exposure, maternal depression/perinatal mood disorders, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and trauma. Families establish individualized goals as a part of the program. This home-visiting service is brought to you by Family Futures.

Early Attachment Services through D.A. Blodgett - St. John's

The Early Childhood Attachment program at D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s serves caregivers and their young children to strengthen the parent-child relationship and promote healthy development. This service facilitates opportunities for parent-child interaction and play, guidance concerning child development, and supportive counseling. This service is helpful for biological, foster, kinship, and adoptive families.

Little Scholars

The Little Scholars Program, brought to you by Vibrant Futures, 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, providing positive interactions and knowledge of their child’s development.

Play and Learn GRCC

Play and Learn GRCC are collaborative, community-based playgroups that strengthen the skills of early childhood caregivers using household materials and daily routines to provide activities to support their child’s developmental milestones in language, literacy, and STEM. There is a strong focus on emotional and physical health as children are growing and rapidly developing in these areas at this age. These play-to-learn groups are run by Grand Rapids Community College.

Therapeutic Play and Learn Groups

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. Groups are facilitated by trained pediatric therapists from across a variety of disciplines that ensure caregivers and parents are equipped with the knowledge and skills to better understand how to support their child’s growth at home. This is a program of the Comprehensive Therapy Center.

Little Learners Play Group

Little Learners playgroups are for caregivers and parents of children ages 0-5. Groups are offered through partnerships with child care providers (family, relatives, licensed homes), schools, and community-based settings (housing complexes, churches, community centers). Little Learners integrates child development strategies and literacy enhancements into a play-based context that nurtures a child’s cognitive, language, literacy, social and emotional development—brought to you by Vibrant Futures.

Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) through Cherry Health

Funding expands Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) which offers support for new and expecting parents. Programming adds nutrition and lactation consultation services, to improve maternal health outcomes and new parent well-being. Services can be offered in the home, office, or community setting.

Reach Out and Read Michigan

Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for learning 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.

Family Promise of Grand Rapids

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 West Michigan.

Infant Toddler Developmental Services by Arbor Circle

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.

Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) by Arbor Circle

Arbor Circle’s Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) program partners with parents, teachers, and child care providers when children aged 0-5 face challenges in child care or preschool. The program provides intervention and support that promote positive social-emotional development and ensures successful early learning experiences.

Family Support Services through the Hispanic Center

Family Support Services through the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
works with expectant mothers and parents with young children. They assist with connection to early childhood information and connection to essential community resources, including clothing and food that promote a child’s well-being.

Kent County Health Department

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-based paint in Kent County.

Healthy Homes of West Michigan

Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan provides in-home screenings for lead-based paint, asthma, and accidental injury risk, with a trained Healthy Housing Specialist. Families are provided with education and supplies to reduce exposure to the hazard(s). Case management services support with referrals to other community organizations as appropriate.

Bright Beginnings Playgroup by Kent ISD

Bright Beginnings offers playgroups throughout Kent County, primarily in schools or early childhood centers, to foster social connections and build community among families in three primary areas: parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family well-being. Playgroups offer an organized setting for families to interact with one another, share common experiences, explore parenting issues, learn about child development, and best of all, learn through play. Bright Beginnings is a program of Kent ISD.

Child Safety Initiatives from Bethany Christian Services

Bethany’s Child Safety Initiative provides one-on-one parent safety education to the culturally diverse families they serve, focusing on safe sleep and car seat safety. Bethany can provide approved pack-n-plays and car seats to eligible parents who receive individual consultation.

Child Safety Program by Cherry Health

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 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.

Improving Access to Early Childhood Assessments and Treatment Services

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.)

Learning Kits from Family Futures

Family Futures Learning Kits are delivered to three-and-four-year-old children in Kent County who meet household income eligibility requirements. Kits include learning materials for activities as well as guidance for caretakers on how each activity can nurture the development of motor skills as well as emotional development.

Child and Family Advocate Program

The YMCA of Greater Grand offers the Child and Family Advocate Program to families of children in early childhood education programs in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Refugee Education Center, and Steepletown Neighborhood Services. Child and Family Advocates partner to strengthen families and their early learning experience through one-on-one support.

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