Developmental Screening and Early Intervention
Children and their families not only need but deserve comprehensive, high-quality developmental screening services and supports. However, many young children growing up in poverty are not screened at all, and studies within the pediatric community and our local experiences suggest that some, if not many, children receive inadequate supports once they are identified as at risk for delays.

The Offices’s Division of Applied Research and Evaluation
(DARE) recently evaluated developmental screening services for a network of community-based programs in Allegheny County. Several challenges and associated needs for support were identified:
  1. Programs are under-identifying the number of children at risk for delays.

  2. Very few children identified as at risk for delays through the screenings are connected to EI agencies for further evaluation of developmental or behavioral concerns.

  3. When children are identified by screenings as at-risk, screening staff may experience a lack of confidence and knowledge about how to effectively communicate with parents and how to effectively support parents in connecting to needed services.

For more information on quality screening, click here.

To watch video clips about the screening process from the perspective of a parent and staff members, click here.

It is essential that programs have systems in place to continuously monitor the impact of their screening service, so that they can identify improvement needs and opportunities to ensure quality services. DARE remains committed to supporting programs in these areas in addition to utilizing the voices of stakeholders to strengthen service delivery and associated supports.

Presentation from National Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect
Colleagues from DARE and the School of Social Work recently conducted a four-part workshop at the 18th National Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect held in Washington, D.C.  The workshop, “Implementing best practices for developmental and social-emotional screening into child welfare and community support systems”,  provided an overview of statewide and local systems that deliver developmental screenings to young children and discussed strategies and considerations for implementing quality screening practices.
Presenters: Mary E. Rautkis, Rachel Winters, Janell Smith-Jones, & Andrea Rudek

For additional information on DARE's work related to screening services and supports, contact:

Janell Smith-Jones
Evaluation and Research Manager
(412) 383 3360

Joan Eichner
Director, Division of Applied Research and Evaluation
(412) 383 1310