Scan of Early Childhood Developmental Screening Strategies Reveal Varied Approach

Young child

A new issue brief from NICHQ and the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) provides insight into the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant developmental screening activities across the country, one aspect of enhancing systems that support early childhood development.

Entitled Early Childhood Developmental Screening and Title V: Building Better Systems, the issue brief aims to inform public health professionals, partners and stakeholders of different developmental screening-related strategies that could be applied in communities, and to provide connections to states highlighted for their work on this topic.

“There is concern about the increase in the number of children identified with developmental disabilities or delays,” says NICHQ early childhood expert Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM. “Looking at the activities states are doing related to developmental screening may help improve comprehensive systems and services to better support early childhood development.”

The issue brief contains several state highlights, including one of Vermont’s work in system coordination. Vermont is implementing an initiative called Help Me Grow Vermont to ensure that early surveillance, screening and detection leads to the linkage of at-risk children and their families to community-based programs and services.

Children’s developmental health—including surveillance, screening, referral and follow-up—are components of the NICHQ-led Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (ECCS CoIIN). The objective of the ECCS CoIIN is to support participating state grantee communities in their efforts to achieve a 25 percent increase in age-appropriate developmental skills among their 3-year-old populations.

“We gain the most synergies and efficiencies with our work when our efforts can support multiple needs,” says NICHQ ECCS CoIIN Project Director Zhandra Levesque, MPH. “The Title V program’s focus on developmental screening through National Performance Measure 6, provides a mechanism that ECCS grantees can use to enhance their system change efforts in their communities.”

Read the full issue brief.