Systemwide Solutions for Developmental-Behavioral Concerns

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.

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.

For more information developmental-behavioral monitoring and training, visit the Learn the Signs. Act Early. Campaign at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/hcp.

A subcommittee of the Early Childhood Six by’15 workgroup authored this commentary: Kevin P. Marks, MD, Adriane K. Griffen, MPH, MCHES, Patricia Herrera, MS, Michelle M. Macias, MD, Catherine E. Rice, PhD, and Cordelia Robinson, PhD, RN.  The authors acknowledge and give special thanks to the other members of the Sixby’15 workgroup: Abigail Alberico, Jeffrey P. Brosco, Shannon Haworth, Andy Imparato, Ben Kaufman, Bergen Nelson and Jamie Perry.

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