Pandemic’s impact on early child development here

Help Me Grow – Long Island (HMG-LI), a free service that helps connect families and providers with resources and information for child development, saw the number of families served by their program spike around the time New York State went on pandemic pause last year.

A new report from HMG-LI using data from Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020 shows that the care coordination program, called Centralized Access Point, served more than double the number of children than the previous year.

The increase in need on Long Island is reflected not only in intensity, but also geographically. HMG-LI served 36 new communities in addition to the 55 existing communities they have served in the past.

The pandemic also affected the way families and providers were referred to HMG-LI’s services. Referrals from family and friends tripled, while healthcare referrals halved. One of the reasons for that decrease could be from families missing well-child visits due to the pandemic, lessening the likelihood of being identified for referral.

Another shift was in the top concerns reported from parents. While “developmental concerns” was the top listed in 2019, “basic need” was the main concern in 2020, reflecting the pandemic’s impact.

HMG-LI’s full report can be read here, and they are also hosting a free, public webinar on June 17, available here.