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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

Babies Don’t Stay Babies for Long

Babies grow and change rapidly. They learn more in their first five years of life than at any other time, making their early experiences incredibly important. Knowing this, you’ll want to do all that you can to support your child’s learning. There is no time to waste. After all, kids grow up quickly.

Upcoming Events

Click here to view our upcoming events for Connections.

  Click here to view helpful information and articles.

Questionnaires to Inform You

Connections families receive a series of age-specific questionnaires, called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. These questionnaires enable parents to track their child’s development. Play activities are used to encourage healthy development and identify any concerns which we, in turn, will follow up on. Here are some examples of questions you’ll be asked to answer with a “Yes”, “Sometimes”, or “Not Yet”.

  • When in front of a large mirror, does your baby smile or coo at herself? (6 months)
  • Does your child stack three small blocks or toys on top of each other by himself? (18 months)
  • Does your child jump with both feet leaving the floor at the same time? (30 months)

Trained workers provide parents with feedback including whether there are any developmental concerns to follow up on. Once enrolled, parents receive an ASQ every two to six months along with developmental newsletters and playtime ideas for infants and young children. Click here to see a sample ASQ.

You Get the Benefits

Connections families receive:

  • Specific feedback about your child’s progress
  • Resources if there is an area of concern
  • Parenting tips and playtime ideas
  • A Parent Coach to contact with questions or concerns about your child
  • Information about local and low-cost family activities

From Our Parents

Connections is a great program!  I have participated in Connections since my 1st child was born 4 years ago. I look forward to the results to my questionnaires – to see how my children’s development is progressing. It has eased my worries a few times. The newsletters have excellent and informative info and targets the exact stages of where my kids are at.

Each year Connections families are asked to provide feedback about the program in the form of a survey. This year’s response from almost 700 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.

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

Volunteer

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 amongst 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.

Partners

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

Funding

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