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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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."

Family Futures

Family Futures provides outreach to families to increase awareness of available services and provide consultation from a parent coach to connect you with programs that best fit your needs. Family Futures is also working to reach families through marketing efforts to ensure all families 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 Early Childhood Services and the Community Healthcare Access Program provides outreach, consultation, and care coordination to parents who need help accessing community resources and early childhood programming.

Help Me Grow Kent

Help Me Grow Kent offers support to families from a Care Coordinator who creates individualized care plans and makes referrals to community organizations. Resources available include basic needs, childcare, and preschool, among others. Help Me Grow is a jointly run program 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 Hands Connected Network by Bethany Christian Services

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.

Strong Beginnings - Healthy Start

Strong Beginnings is a partnership of eight 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 deal with the stress that comes from pregnancy and parenting, and connect you with community resources. Strong Beginnings: Arbor Circle, Cherry Health, GRAAHI, Kent County Health Department, Mercy Health, Spectrum Health (fiduciary).

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 mothers of newborns in Kent County, particularly those in underserved communities. These services are provided by MomsBloom.

Kent County Healthy Families by Family Futures

Kent County Healthy Families 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 any time. This home visiting service is brought to you by Family Futures.

Flourish at Home by ELNC

Flourish at Home is an in-home parent coaching and comprehensive support program. It is a 16-week home visiting program that provides weekly coaching sessions to support parents and caregivers in obtaining the knowledge and skills to support their child’s health, development, and learning.

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

This program will help parents learn and reinforce the important techniques for strengthening growth, child development, and learning in your infant, toddler, or preschool child. Parent coaching is delivered weekly over an 11 week period, by phone, zoom meeting, at your home, or in a convenient location. You will be learning about techniques like labeling, maintaining, shared-book reading, etc. While participating in this program, you will receive children’s books, developmental toys, and other incentives. This home visiting program is brought to you by Vibrant Futures.

Early Learning Communities by GRCC

Early Learning Communities (ELC) 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

Play to Learn is a playgroup program focused on building family resilience and nurturing early education skills. The playgroups are open to all families and home-based providers.

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.

EatPlayGrow by Cherry Health

EatPlayGrow teaches children ages 0-5 and their caregivers about healthy habits through storytelling, art-making, music, and movement. Children play and learn about Smart Sleep, Fabulous Fruits, Energy Balance, Healthy Beverages, and more! These groups are brought to you by Cherry Health.

Little Learners Play Group through Vibrant Futures

This program will support increased quality interactions and literacy outcomes while your children are in play activities. Teachers, caregivers, and parents will be introduced to specific reading and literacy-enhancement techniques to strengthen language and literacy development in young children.

This program will support 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.

Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) through Cherry Health

The Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) is a parent support and coaching program for pregnant mothers and infants. If you are pregnant or have a baby under a year old, and are Medicaid eligible, you can receive MIHP as part of your insurance coverage.

MIHP services are provided by a team to support and encourage new parents. Services can be provided in your home, our office, or another place that you choose in the community.

We can help you:

  • Feel prepared for your baby’s birth
  • Make good choices for you and your baby
  • Understand your pregnancy and your baby’s development
  • Find medical care for you and your baby
  • Find the right resources in the community
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. The service allows parents to 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. These issues may include depression, anxiety, or fears, and can be addressed through counseling, case management, and more. ITDS is the work of Arbor Circle.

Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) by Arbor Circle

Keep Early Education Positive (KEEP) program 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. KEEP provides intervention and support so that children have a more successful experience in their early education. KEEP is provided by Arbor Circle.

This programming works in conjunction with Promote, Refer, Educate-Keep Early Education Positive (PRE-KEEP). PRE-KEEP works to increases mental health services for children through a partnership with Arbor Circle and provides basic mental health training for parents and teachers. PRE-KEEP is a program through the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC).

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 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.

Kent County Health Department

The Kent County Health Department is offering virtual home health screenings to pregnant residents and families with children five years old and younger to assess potential health hazards. The Health Department can help families in owner-occupied or rental homes and can connect families to the help they need.

This service assesses potential health hazards in a home and allows the Health Department to educate families on ways to limit exposure. Also, they suggest what to do if your family is exposed.

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

A program brings lead screenings to home visitors and case management through Healthy Homes of West Michigan.

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