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Implement Ages and Stages Screening for At-Risk Children
April 15, 2008

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires that children under age three who have been subjects of substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect must be referred for early intervention services. In addition to children who meet the CAPTA criteria, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) strongly recommends that all children under age five who are accepted for service by the child welfare system be evaluated for possible developmental delays and referred for early intervention services if any delays are determined. To accomplish this the Office of Children, Youth and Families will implement statewide use of the Ages and Stages (ASQ) and Ages and Stages – Social and Emotional (ASQ – SE) questionnaires. These questionnaires are designed to screen infants and young children when their developmental status may be in question or at-risk.

The screening questionnaire will be completed with the parent’s/caretaker’s assistance by the county children and youth worker, or a private agency worker at the request of the county children and youth agency, or by the parent or caretaker with on-site guidance by the trained public or private agency worker. If the results of the screening indicate that the child’s development is at least 25 percent below that expected for the child’s chronological age the child will be referred for early intervention services.

DPW has purchased ASQ and ASQ – Social and Emotional (SE) packages for public and private children and youth social service agencies and is training trainers to prepare county and private providers. Full implementation is expected to begin September 1. It is anticipated that this wide spread screening initiative may result in increased referral rates for early intervention and other services for young children. A copy of the bulletin, Developmental Evaluation and Early Intervention Referral Policy, is available from the link.

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