Rates of Parent-Centered Developmental Screening: Disparities and Links to Services Access

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Although experts in pediatric care recommend that all young children undergo screening for developmental problems, less than 20 percent of U.S. children under age 6 received a parent-completed screening at the request of a health care provider. High-risk children who are screened are more likely to receive early intervention services than their unscreened high-risk peers.

The authors analyzed data from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, which is sponsored by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Among other questions, the survey included items to assess the prevalence of screening for risk of developmental, behavioral, and social delays in children ages 10 months to 71 months through the use of parent-completed questionnaires. Screening was assessed only for children who had had at least one health care visit in the previous 12 months.

Less than 20 percent of U.S. children under age 6 receive a parent-completed developmental screening as recommended in national guidelines. But wide variation across the country suggests states can successfully raise rates by instituting policies and implementing systematic improvement processes.

Authors: Christina Bethell, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., Colleen Reuland, M.S., Edward L. Schor, M.D., Melinda K. Abrams, M.S., and Neal Halfon, M.D., M.P.H.
Journal: Pediatrics, July 2011 128(1):146–55

Posted 8/23/2011


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