Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! Child Health Care Providers: A Systems Approach to Developmental Promotion, Surveillance, Referral and Linkage to Services
Developmental promotion, screening, referral, and linkage to services represent an important continuum for ensuring optimal outcomes for children. This resource provides essential guidance for child health care providers and outlines how Help Me Grow systems can be a valuable resource in supporting connection to community-based supports for vulnerable or at-risk children. The guide is updated from a resource originally developed by the Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! collaborative, a coordinated effort from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education to encourage developmental and behavioral screening and support for children, families, and the providers who care for them.
Child health care providers often engage in longitudinal relationships with families that promote trust and show appreciation of their opinion and engagement. Soliciting family members’ input is critical to developmental surveillance, as research has shown that parental concerns are important indicators of problems. Encouraging families and caregivers to use developmental monitoring checklists can help clarify what behaviors they should be observing in their children.
The use of specific screening instruments complements developmental surveillance. It has been shown that child health providers are able to more accurately identify estimates of children’s developmental status with the use of developmental screening tools, in comparison with a reliance on clinical impressions alone.