In the bestselling book The Tipping Point, journalist Malcolm Gladwell writes about the critical role that certain persons, known as connectors and mavens, play in spreading messages that result in the development of trends.
- Connectors know many people and have a gift of bringing people together. They are comfortable in many different words and subcultures and can act as the social glue and help spread a message.
- Mavens gather and create databanks of important information. Furthermore, mavens pass along this information, encouraging problem solving.
Community-based staff are both connectors and mavens and are an essential component of the system infrastructure. They are hired to build the system by developing relationships with existing community resources and creating a comprehensive resource inventory for the call center. Community liaisons interact with a wide variety of people, including family support workers, supervisors, directors, parents, teachers, researchers, consultants, and health care professionals. Interactions might include visiting agencies, conducting trainings, attending meetings, or bringing people together at networking events. As a result of their work, community-based staff are always in the process of gathering and disseminating information about people, services, trainings, knowledge, and resources, so that this information is available to those who need it.
The following provides an overview of the role of the Help Me Grow community liaisons:
- Child Development Community Liaisons (CDLs) are located within the community in regional offices.
- CDLs work together with the Child Development Infoline Care Coordinators to assess what resources are available to meet the family's needs and wants.
- CDLs provide outreach to providers, physicians, and parents to increase awareness of the Help Me Grow program.
- CDLs create community networking efforts that maximize access to services and lead to optimal use of existing resources.
- CDLs conduct office-based training on developmental surveillance and on the use of Help Me Grow program. The trainings also provide on how to administer and utilize the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) and the Parents' Evaluations of Developmental Status (PEDS), thus supporting the widespread use of these family-driven tools.