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For Immediate Release:
April 19, 2012

Contact: (609) 633-8507
Kristine Brown

New Jersey One of Three States Awarded National Replication Center’s Help Me Grow (HMG) Grant
Funding will bolster Department of Children and Families’ capacity to support infant and young children's healthy development

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) has been awarded a one-year Technical Assistance grant by Help Me Grow (HMG) National Replication Center that will enhance the state’s efforts to focus on infant and young children’s healthy development.  The HMG system is an evidenced-based model that was created to assist states in identifying at-risk children, identifying the gaps in and barrier to services and linking children and families to the services and programs they need. 

The HMG model was first launched in 1998 in Hartford Connecticut and today through auspices of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the model has been expanded to a total of sixteen States. The HMG model promotes cross-sector and interagency collaboration among child health services, early care and education, and family support services. 

“We are extremely excited to be one of only three states in the nation to be awarded the HMG grant during this round of Replication, said DCF Commissioner Dr. Allison Blake.  With this grant, DCF will be able to build upon the excellent foundation already established in partnership with its sister agencies, the Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Human Services and the Department of Education, as well as other community partners to build an integrated system of care for children with a greater emphasis on the healthy development of infants and young children.”

To ensure a successful and efficient system, the model is based on four core components including, child health care provider outreach, community outreach and support services, centralized telephone access and coordination, and data collection.  The HMG system also entails three structural requirements, including an organizing entity, a strategy for expanding the model statewide and the implementation of a continuous quality improvement plan.

The Department’s Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships’ Office of Early Childhood Services (OECS), which coordinates prevention services to families with children ages birth to six, will be the lead in implementing the HMG system in New Jersey. 

“While the grant’s monetary value totals $20,000, which has a match requirement, its true value is immeasurable to the children and families we serve. This grant is really about helping us better work with all of our system partners to ensure early intervention and prevention and providing infants and young children and their families a strong network of supports and services to ensure optimal child development early on,” added Commissioner Blake.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF), New Jersey’s state child welfare agency, was created in July 2006 as the state’s first Cabinet agency devoted exclusively to serving and safeguarding the most vulnerable children and families in New Jersey. DCF includes the Division of Youth and Family Services, Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships and Division of Child Behavioral Health Services, and is focused on strengthening families and achieving safety, well-being and permanency for New Jersey's children.