This summary provides an overview of an official article published by ThedaCare, focusing on an important initiative led by First Five Fox Valley (F5FV) and ThedaCare, aimed at supporting early childhood development in rural Wisconsin counties. For a complete read of the original article, click here.

The collaborative effort between First Five Fox Valley (F5FV) and ThedaCare is dedicated to promoting early childhood development in Wisconsin’s rural counties, including Green Lake, Marquette, Shawano, Waupaca, and Waushara. Recognizing the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early childhood development, the initiative aims to address developmental delays in children under the age of five.

Key highlights of this initiative include:

  • Grant Support: First Five Fox Valley received a grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin to facilitate the program. ThedaCare serves as its health care partner in this endeavor.
  • Assessment Data: Over the past 18 months, more than 4,500 developmental screenings of children under five have revealed significant developmental losses, particularly in language development, social/emotional development, and motor skills, as a result of the pandemic.
  • Help Me Grow (HMG): First Five Fox Valley is affiliated with the national Help Me Grow (HMG) program, which connects families with local community resources to support child development. The program focuses on providing health care, quality early learning experiences, nutrition, and parent support activities.
  • Enhancing Provider Outreach: The initiative aims to strengthen the connection between medical providers and families by introducing HMG navigators within the health care system. These navigators will facilitate information-sharing and resource connections between parents, providers, and local organizations.
  • Closed-Loop System: ThedaCare has integrated an “Ages and Stages Questionnaire” into its electronic medical records system, allowing providers to identify children in need of support. The program establishes a closed-loop system to keep all stakeholders informed about a child’s progress and any additional needs.

The collaboration between F5FV and ThedaCare underscores the commitment to optimal child development and aligns with ThedaCare’s mission of enhancing community well-being. The program will be implemented across nine counties and is funded through December 2023, emphasizing the importance of supporting pediatric populations in their growth and development.