In 2014, a group of 15 Watch Me Grow partners from the nonprofit and public sectors collaborated to create a create a vision and mission for young children with special needs and their families in San Mateo County.

Partner Materials


Vision and Mission

The Vision: Optimal development for all children with special needs in San Mateo County.
The Mission: Optimal development of all children with special needs is supported by integrated systems in San Mateo County.

Theory of Change: If . . .

  • our community is knowledgeable about the importance of developmental milestones and the value of developmental screening;
  • all children birth to five are periodically screened for developmental delays in the medical home or family support settings;
  • providers participate in a coordinated countywide system of care for children with special needs and families;
  • providers are trained and effectively link children and families to services that are appropriate, timely and coordinated;

then . . . by 2018, children with special needs in San Mateo County will be supported by a system of coordinated, family-centered services for optimal development.


  • Watch Me Grow is the Special Needs Initiative for Children with Special Health Care Needs and their Families in San Mateo County funded by First 5 San Mateo County.
  • Gatepath is the Lead Agency to coordinate and facilitate multiple funded and unfunded partners to implement Watch Me Grow, whose mission is the optimal development of children with special needs supported by integrated systems in San Mateo County
  • This partnership builds on First 5’s previously funded projects including The Preemie Project and the previous Watch Me Grow initiative


Watch Me Grow identified the following objectives to bolster the continuum of services for children with special needs. This continuum runs from universal screening to ensure early identification, to care coordination to provide connection to services to addressing systemic issues that impact access to and quality of services.

  • Link children to timely access to assessment, care coordination or additional family support services.
  • Co-location of services with medical providers and family support settings. Children ages 0-5 receive developmental screenings or care coordination services in a medical or family support setting, where models and implementation are integrated, streamlined, non-duplicative and include family friendly practices.
  • Trainings for medical and family care providers to support the implementation and integration of standardized developmental screening and assessment tools, care coordination and linkages to community resources.
  • Engage community partners in identifying and addressing systems change through increased coordination, a local policy agenda, linkages to regional and statewide efforts, as well as addressing the sustainability of Watch Me Grow.
  • Determine feasibility of a universal access point for developmental screenings in San Mateo County. Conduct outreach for developmental screening, including access points, availability to underserved populations and on the importance of developmental screenings.

Training and Technical Assistance for Partners

Gatepath staff are available to support partners with training and technical assistance to support their Watch Me Grow activities.

Contact Carol Elliott for assistance with financial reporting, Persimmony, scope of work, and Mid-Year and Year End reporting.

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