A special announcement from the Early Learning Challenge grant team!
Vermont's New Statewide Call Line for Early Childhood Questions
It’s natural to have questions when caring for a young child. Vermont has many strong programs and services to support young children and families who need support. Still, for many parents, it can be challenging to figure out what services are available and how to access them. As a result, not all families get connected to the services they need.
A new statewide call center called Help Me Grow Vermont has been set-up to address this problem. Parents and caregivers anywhere in Vermont can now dial 2-1-1 to be connected with trained Vermont Child Development Specialists who can answer parent and caregiver questions about children’s behavior and development, identify if their child is at risk, and connect callers to programs and supports right where they live.
In the first few weeks that the line has been operational, parents from across the state have called with a range of issues, including looking for parent education resources and needing to set up a developmental screening for a child. Callers have been connected to services at agencies including local Parent Child Centers and Children’s Integrated Services. In some cases, parents might have heard about a service or resource for families, but aren't sure how to access it or whether or not they are eligible for help. The Help Me Grow Child Development Specialists are also trained to answer whether or not a child’s behavior is age appropriate.
Help Me Grow Vermont specialists are available from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday – Friday. Callers can leave messages after hours, as Vermont 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Messages will be returned the next business day or within 2 hours during the day. Help Me Grow Vermont 2-1-1 services are confidential and free. Dialing Vermont 2-1-1 is a local call.
Hosted by the United Way of Vermont, the Help Me Grow Vermont centralized telephone access point is a project of Vermont’s Early Learning Challenge – Race to the Top grant, and part of a broader effort to strengthen and align the systems that support young children and families in Vermont. Information collected by call center staff will help identify family needs as well as gaps in and barriers to services across the state. This data can then be used to help ensure that young Vermonters and their families can more easily get the support they need in the future.
As a state, we can do more to help children lead healthy lives if developmental and behavioral issues are detected early on. Vermont 2-1-1 is one way the state is making an effort to ensure that every child gets a strong start!