State Consortium Aims to Improve Quality of Preventive and Developmental Services for Young Children in Primary Care

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<p>The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has selected 18 states, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, to participate in a Commonwealth Fund-supported national consortium, to improve early identification of young children with developmental problems. Public-private partnerships in each location will improve policy and clinical practice so that children's developmental and behavioral disorders are identified and treated at as early an age as possible.<br><br>Participants in the <strong>Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) Screening Academy</strong> will receive technical assistance over 15 months to integrate valid and standardized tools of children's development into preventive health care practice. Use of these instruments has been found to increase identification of young children with or at risk of cognitive, social, and emotional developmental problems, thereby increasing access to early intervention services. Each team will be led by the state's Medicaid program and will include other public agencies, along with child health physician associations, private clinicians, and nonprofit organizations.<br><br>The jurisdictions selected for the Screening Academy are: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Wisconsin.<br><bR>Since 2000, the Fund-supported and NASHP-administered ABCD Initiative has helped eight states create models of service delivery and financing to improve early child development services. The program focuses on preventive care of children whose health care is covered by state health care programs, especially Medicaid.</p>