Innovations in Promoting Children's Healthy Development

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<p>Two new Commonwealth Fund-supported studies are featured in the September issue of the journal <em>Pediatrics:</em> <br /><br /><a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29873&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D522008%26%23doc522008">Improving the Management of Family Psychosocial Problems at Low-Income Children's Well-Child Care Visits.</a> Arvin Garg, M.D., M.P.H., Arlene. M. Butz, Sc.D., R.N., Paul H. Dworkin, M.D. et al.<br />Researchers at Johns Hopkins University tested the use of a simple screening tool that allows clinicians to raise sensitive psychosocial issues, like housing insecurity, inadequate parental education, and parental substance abuse, during pediatric visits.<br /><br />Providers who used the tool--which added only a few extra minutes to the overall visit--had more discussions with parents about such topics and made more referrals to community resources like graduate equivalency diploma programs, job training, and food pantries. Twenty percent of the parents who completed the screen reported contacting a referred community resource, compared with only 2 percent of parents who did not, the study found.<br /><br /><a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29872&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D522200%26%23doc522200">Healthy Steps for Young Children: Sustained Results at 5.5 Years.</a> Cynthia S. Minkovitz, M.D., M.P.P., Donna Strobino, Ph.D., Kamila B. Mistry, M.P.H. et al.<br />An evaluation of the Healthy Steps for Young Children program has revealed that it can have lasting benefits for young families. The program, which incorporates developmental specialists and services into pediatric care for infants and toddlers age 3 and under, appears to enhance quality of care and improve selected parenting practices, based on interviews conducted with parents whose children had completed the program more than two years prior and were now 5.5 years old.<br /><br />Parents who had been enrolled in Healthy Steps practiced better disciplining behaviors, encouraged their children to read more, and were more likely to receive anticipatory guidance that matched their preferences than parents who did not complete the program.<br /><br />To read more about these interventions and other policies and practices designed to aid children's healthy development, visit the <a href="/topics/topics_list.htm?attrib_id=15315">Fund's Web site.</a></p>