Systemwide Solutions for Developmental-Behavioral Concerns

December 15, 2015

"Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!" has been promoting universal, broad-band developmental and social-emotional screening in children ages 0 to 5 years across the health care, early childhood education and social service sectors. With the U.S. federal government and AAP combining forces to promote periodic developmental-behavioral screening, the next step is for the U.S. to address its capacity crisis for providing high-quality early intervention and learning services.

A new article in Pediatrics proposes that every U.S. state needs: 1) a family-friendly, screening and care coordination entity, 2) comprehensive, tiered, and equitable assessments for "at-risk" or referred children, 3) universal access to high-quality early learning or preschool programs, and 4) continuous accountability for the early detection process from birth to 5 years, and this includes an outcome-based metric for kindergarten readiness. Leaders in health, education, and social service sectors must boldly address our nation's capacity crisis in a system-wide manner. US early learning (especially IDEA Part C) services must become more equitable, efficient, and effective so that the focus is always on the developmental-behavioral needs of the child.

Visit the CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign page for more information developmental-behavioral monitoring and training.