States Connect Vulnerable Children in Child Care to Early and Periodic Screening

Mar 29, 2011

By Christine Johnson-Staub

Preventive health and developmental screening for children, especially those most at risk, is a priority for federal policymakers, as evidenced by requirements for Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) in Medicaid and regular developmental screenings in Head Start and Early Head Start. Still, many children do not receive regular screening, either because their families experience barriers to health care, or because their medical providers do not consistently provide the recommended services. According to data from the National Survey on Early Childhood Health, reported in the journal Pediatrics, only 57 percent of children aged 10 to 35 months had ever received developmental screening by their primary care provider. One study of infants in Washington State found that those whose parents' primary language was not English were half as likely to have received the number of preventive care visits that are recommended in the first year. Children may have access to screening services in a variety of settings such as child care programs, pediatricians' offices, and in their homes through home visitation programs, making communication between service providers and families about screening results and follow-up treatment equally critical.

The National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) has worked with 28 states to improve screening policies and practice through its Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) Initiative. In some states, child care providers are receiving training and technical support to build their capacity to deliver developmental screening, talk with parents about screening results, and communicate with pediatricians and medical homes about children's screening results. As a result, more children are getting the recommended screening and child care providers, families and pediatricians are working together to meet children's developmental needs.

The states working with ABCD, and other states independently, are exploring additional strategies for expanding access to screening via child care settings. READ MORE >>

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