States Can Look to Child Care Policies to Improve Screening Rates

Feb 15, 2012

By Christine Johnsohn-Staub

Despite expert recommendations, just 57 percent of parents in a 2004 study said that their toddlers received a developmental screening within the past year. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should receive seven pediatric visits with age-appropriate physical and developmental screenings in their first year, and 12 in their first three years. During those recommended visits, the use of valid screening tools can catch developmental concerns like cognitive delays, hearing and vision problems, or problems with physical health and development.

Because many babies and toddlers not currently receiving comprehensive screenings can be reached through their child care settings, CLASP has released a new resource on promoting access to comprehensive screenings. Promote Access to Early, Regular and Comprehensive Screenings is part of CLASP's "Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care" project, an ongoing effort by CLASP to link research to policy ideas to help states make the best decisions for infants and toddlers in child care. This latest resource provides research documenting the importance of screening, policy recommendations states can consider to improve their screening rates for infants and toddlers, and additional online resources.

Only five states' Medicaid policies cover all recommended screening for children in their first year. By catching problems early and referring families to appropriate treatment and other services, more serious, and costly, issues can be prevented, and children are more likely to grow and develop to their maximum potential. Early and comprehensive screening can even prevent the need for additional health care and educational interventions later on in the child's life. The resource highlights ways states can engage child care settings and providers in informing and educating families about the importance of screening, providing developmental screenings, and connecting children to follow-up services. They can also support partnerships to connect families to screenings and encourage or require child care providers to connect families to screening through the direct provisions of services or referrals.

Find out more in Promote Access to Early, Regular and Comprehensive Screenings >>

site by Trilogy Interactive