Policy Resource

Think Babies™ Child and Family Screenings, Supports, and Linkages to Needed Services Resource List

Download Files Jun 29, 2019

Infants and toddlers need access to child and family screenings, supports and linkages to needed services. This annotated resource list includes a range of materials, such as policy briefs, fact sheets, websites and tools, to help stakeholders learn about the issue.


Achieving the Promise of a Bright Future: Developmental Screening of Infants and Toddlers, ZERO TO THREE, February 2012 – This policy brief discusses the need for comprehensive and coordinated developmental screening programs that are connected to followup services providing more detailed evaluation and treatment. It outlines relevant research and offers policy recommendations for building an effective screening system.

Improving Access to Early Identification and Intervention: 211 LA County Developmental Screening and Care Coordination, ZERO TO THREE, February 2015 – This policy brief by the ZERO TO THREE Western Office describes the 211 Los Angeles County telephonebased developmental screening and care coordination program. It offers policy recommendations for expanding and replicating the model and discusses research supporting universal developmental screening.

Building Strong Foundations: Advancing Comprehensive Policies for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, ZERO TO THREE, October 2017 – This series describes 13 policies core to advancing infant-toddler well-being in four essential areas: high quality early care and education opportunities; strong parents; economically stable families; and healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy parents. Relevant policy papers cover health care and mental health care services, as well as early intervention policies.

State Initiative articles discussing developmental screening – ZERO TO THREE’s State Initiatives is a collection of articles highlighting innovative actions states have taken to improve well-being for infants and toddlers.

State of Babies Yearbook 2019, ZERO TO THREE, February 2019 - This yearbook compares national and state-by-state data on the well-being of America’s babies to help policymakers and advocates advance policies and budgets that put babies and families first.

Think Babies National Partners

As of April 2019, nearly 60 national organizations with diverse missions, memberships and expertise have joined the Think Babies campaign. Learn more about how they are supporting the campaign through written products, joint events and advocacy here.

Additional Resources

Help Me Grow National Center – The Help Me Grow (HMG) National Center supports states and communities in the HMG affiliate network to learn about best practices in implementing HMG, a model of leveraging existing resources to better support early childhood development. The website includes a searchable resource bank of materials developed by the National Center and by state affiliates.

Bright Futures – Bright Futures is a national health promotion and prevention initiative, led by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported, in part, by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The Bright Futures Guidelines provide theory-based and evidence-driven guidance for all preventive care screenings and well-child visits. Bright Futures content can be incorporated into many public health programs such as home visiting, child care, school-based health clinics, and many others. Materials developed especially for families are also available.

Birth to Five Watch Me Thrive – Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them. This site includes resources for various providers working with children and a compendium of screening measures for young children.

Learn the Signs Act Early, Center for Disease Control and Prevention – This federal website provides resources on developmental milestones, including a milestone tracker app, materials and training for professionals working with young children and families, and multi-media resources.

Screening Technical Assistance Center, American Academy of Pediatrics – This technical assistance project provides evidence-based resources to support pediatrics in implementing effective screening, referral, and follow-up for developmental milestones, maternal depression, and social determinants of health.

ABCD Resource Center, National Academy for State Health Policy (NASPH) – This website includes a range of resources from NASHP’s multi-year Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) state technical assistance project focused on improving delivery of early childhood development services through the health care system, including publications highlighting lessons learned from several cohorts of ABCD states.

Opportunities to Strengthen Developmental Screening for Children Involved in Child Welfare Systems, Center for the Study of Social Policy, April 2018 – This paper offers recommendations for strengthening child welfare practices around developmental screening and early intervention for children involved in the child welfare system.

A Strengths-Based Approach to Screening Families for Health-Related Social Needs, MLPB and Center for the Study of Social Policy, January 2018 – This brief presents recommendations for using a strengths-based approach to screening families for health-related social needs such as housing, food, transportation, utilities, and interpersonal safety.

Early Childhood Developmental Screening and Title V: Building Better Systems, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and National Institute for Children’s Health Quality, September 2017 – This issue brief provides insight into the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant developmental screening activities across the country. It aims to inform public health professionals, partners and stakeholders of different developmental screening-related strategies that could be applied in communities, and to provide connections to states highlighted for their work on this topic.

A Strengths-Based Approach to Screening Families for Health-Related Social Needs, MLPB and Center for the Study of Social Policy, June 2017 – This brief provides a recommended approach to screening families for social needs and connecting them with appropriate resources.

The Nuts and Bolts of Medicaid Reimbursement for Developmental Screening: Insights from Georgia, Minnesota, and North Carolina, September 2016 – This brief examines Medicaid policies in three states with high developmental screening rates.

First Steps for Early Success: State Strategies to Support Developmental Screening in Early Childhood Settings, CLASP, October 2014 – This paper describes policy and financing strategies to support screening in various early childhood setting.

*Note that resources related to infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) and maternal depression screening are included on the IECMH resource list.

Read more about: