GreatKids CT: Current, Accurate Information for Parents and Caregiversby: Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian
The GreatKidsCT website, developed by the Connecticut State Library, is a one-stop location for finding information on topics important to Connecticut parents and caregivers. The site is designed to improve access to information. It refers parents directly to a selected, authoritative list of Web pages that contain specific information about the topic of their search. Parents go directly to the information they need instead of wading through pages of “hits” on an Internet search engine.
The goal is to make sure parents can quickly retrieve current, accurate information on the learning, parenting, and health and safety of young children, from birth through age eight. Whenever possible the information provided is from agencies and organizations in Connecticut. Ultimately, GreatKidsCT will link to the home pages of every Connecticut organization that impacts the lives of young children. With one search, parents can read articles on their topic of interest, see a list of local organizations that provide support or programs, view statistics, and learn about additional Internet links that supply more information on the topic. Recently, the State Library has added an online calendar of training opportunities as part of the GreatKidsCT Web site. The calendar is being piloted with five agencies and organizations that provide training for caregivers of children birth through age eight. Each of the partners is responsible for adding their own events.
To make this resource widely available to all parents, the state library is developing a public awareness plan to inform parents, librarians, teachers, case workers, Family Resource Center staff, health clinic staff, and others about the site. Libraries and community centers that have public access to the Internet are important access points for parents who do not have a computer at home.
The state library works with a variety of organizations to identify new resources and organizations to add to the GreatKidsCT database. These partnerships are critical to the ongoing development of GreatkidsCT as a comprehensive information resource that responds to parents changing needs. Development funds for the Web site came from the Graustein Memorial Fund, the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, and the Council on Development Disabilities.