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    “I used the Connections program for both of my kids. Though I’m a teacher, I had no idea what “normal” was for little ones. It was reassuring to know they were in the normal spectrum; and when they weren’t, I liked getting suggestions on how to help them.”
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    “As new parents, we were delighted and relieved to know we would be receiving developmental information specific for our son, Zion, along with community resources during the first five years of his life.”


Connections is a free program for children under 5 that makes sure all parents and caregivers have just-in-time information about what to expect from their children, knowledge about how to handle stress and access to community resources.

  Free to parents living in West Michigan with a child under 5, and anywhere in the WORLD if you participate online! If you need more information, please call (616) 454-HOPE (4673) or email connections@familyfutures.net.

What to Expect

Connections will send you age-appropriate developmental screening surveys every 2-6 months that helps you track your child’s development with specific feedback. If a delay is identified or if you have any concerns, we have a Parent Coach that will call or email you to follow up and make a referral if necessary.

The Developmental Screening: ASQ-3

  • Uses 10-15 minutes of playtime
  • Easy to read bubble sheet with answers of Yes, Not Yet or Sometimes, and it is okay not to answer yes!
  • Measures fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communication, problem solving and personal-social development
  • Asks questions like:
    “Can your child stack three blocks?”
    “Does your child speak in phrases with two or more words?
    “When in front of a large mirror, does your baby smile or coo at herself?”
    “Does your child jump with both feet leaving the floor at the same time?”
     Click here to see a sample ASQ.

You also get:

  • Developmental Newsletters that provide clear expectations
  • Activity ideas to support development
  • Seasonal Newsletters with free or low cost local activities
  • Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness Packets

And Best of all: A Circle of Support

  • We partner with childcare centers, medical homes, parent programs and preschools to surround your child with the support they need by making everyone who is involved with your child aware of their development.
  • To name a few: Helen Devos Children s Hospital, Appletree Christian Learning Centers, and ELNC Preschool and Parent Programs

This Program:

  • Increases confidence as a caregiver
  • Teaches child development from credible sources
  • Gives you what you need, when you need it
  • Peace of mind – no more worrying if your child should or shouldn’t be doing something
  • Provides you with someone to talk too if you have questions or concerns
  • Gets your child school ready

What our Caregivers say about Connections:

“Although I am a nurse who has lots of experience with kids, it is completely different when it comes to your own. Connections helped me know what to expect at each stage and I love the tips, especially on discipline at various ages/stages.”

“Connections is wonderful! I know exactly where my children should be developmentally and what areas we can work on. I feel more informed and prepared for what they need to be doing. Also, its helped us get ready for preschool!”

“I was worried about my child’s speech. The phone call from the parent coach was very helpful and reassuring since I did not have a doctor check up until months later to discuss my concerns. The parent coach put me at ease and my child is making many gains.”

Each year Connections families are asked to provide feedback about the program in the form of a survey. This year’s response from over 1,000 families once again included incredibly helpful feedback. We’re listening to the suggestions and working hard to incorporate them into the program. Click on the link to the Survey to see a summary of the results.


Volunteers are integral to building brighter futures here in Kent County. If you are interested in learning more about our Connections program and how you can help, please call (616) 454-HOPE (4673) or email connections@familyfutures.net.

Support Connections

Make a difference toward the youngest among us and help give parents in Kent County the support they need. Join our efforts and contribute to our Connections program today. Your generous support will touch lives at a time when they need it most.


It takes an entire community to protect children and support families. Those helping us create a better future include:

  • Kent County Health Department
  • Multiple community resources


Our funding is provided in part by:

  • United Way
  • Frey Foundation
  • Wege Foundation
  • PNC Foundation
  • Sebastian Foundation
  • Gerber Foundation
  • Family Futures donors
  • Program participants able to contribute

* Kent County’s Early Childhood System: Connections for Children Community Plan – 2004