Module 3: Family Psychosocial Screening and Surveillance

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Young children depend on their families. So the physical and emotional well-being of the parents and other family members matters in the lives of very young children. Most child health professionals incorporate a general inquiry, such as "How are things going?" or "Any changes in the family since the last time you were here?" right along with their question about parental concerns about their child's behavioral development or learning. This opened-ended approach forms a comfortable bridge to the more specific aspects of the family history. Occasionally, these questions yield critical information that becomes an important focus of the visit. This section incorporates family psychosocial screening (e.g., domestic violence, maternal depression, substance abuse) into your office practice. It includes:

In the Practioner's Own Words

It's letting them know we're here. They can call me or come here any time and talk about it. This office is a resource—probably the most valuable resource some of these families have. We have a lot of families with no backup. And they don't want to share this information with just anybody."
—A physician involved in the Healthy Development Collaborative