Help Me Grow South Carolina (HMG SC), which promotes healthy development for children prenatally through age 5 across the state, has selected South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association (SCIMHA) as its new organizational home.
Help Me Grow SC promotes the healthy development of all infants and young children through information and support for parents, free developmental and behavioral health screenings and connection to community resources and services. Routine screenings give important clues to how a child is developing and if there are any areas that need strengthening or further evaluation.
“We know that the early years of a child’s life present an incredible opportunity to help foster positive outcomes throughout life,” Help Me Grow SC State Office Director Jane Witowski says. “Aligning our efforts with SCIMHA provides a unique opportunity to develop a strong, coordinated system to support both families and the professionals who work with them.”
The move to SCIMHA coincides with the establishment of a state office, which will allow Help Me Grow SC to scale up its services to provide statewide access for all South Carolina families. Currently, only 26% of children are screened, a number that falls just below the national average of 30%.
“This is a really valuable resource that all of us who work with young children and families should know about and should be helping families access to make sure their children are developing on track and to find the resources they need if supports are called for,” says SCHIMA CEO Kerrie Schnake, who was instrumental in bringing Help Me Grow SC to her organization.
The South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association is a multidisciplinary association of professionals working to promote nurturing relationships for infants, young children and their families through resources, policies and practices to foster healthy social-emotional development and well-being. Established in 2017, SCIMHA promotes uniform and nationally recognized competencies and standards to ensure that individuals supporting young children are trained in updated science of child development, infant mental health principles and relationship-based practices.
Help Me Grow South Carolina was established in 2008 as one of the first five state affiliates when the pilot system in Connecticut received funding to expand its model nationally. It became fully operational under the Greenville Health System, now known as Prisma Health in 2012. HMG SC has served more than 8,265 children and their families and made nearly 15,000 referrals to community programs and services.
To learn more about Help Me Grow South Carolina or to complete a free online developmental screening for your child, visit helpmegrowsc.org.
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