Connecticut’s Interagency Partnerships Help Promote Child Health Screenings

Connecticut has mobilized a wide array of stakeholder partnerships to achieve notable advancements in childhood developmental and behavioral health screenings by providers.

Each year, states report their Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program changes, accomplishments, and challenges to the federal government through the CHIP Annual Report Template System (CARTS). In Connecticut’s latest 2018 report, the state highlighted increases between 2016 and 2017 in the rate of developmental screening in children up to age three by 17.4 percent, and the rate of behavioral health screening in children up to age 18 by 28 percent.

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC), in its efforts to promote equity and pursue high-quality education standards, has created materials and guidelines that enable teachers, principals, and families to collaborate with medical professionals to develop an in-depth understanding of a child’s needs and deliver the best treatment possible. The state also publishes a robust array of resources, many of which are available in Spanish, for community partners in its Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards. Another OEC initiative, Help Me Grow, offers a child development 211 information line through the United Way to help ensure that additional assessment and intervention services are provided to any children for whom there are developmental concerns.

As officials noted in their 2018 CARTS report, resources from the Connecticut’s Member Services unit have helped the state to conduct:

  • Live reminder calls to parents, guardians, or an approved authorized representative to promote preventative screenings that concentrate on the 0-15 month age group and reinforcement of the benefit of preventive care;
  • Targeted mailings to parents and caregivers who do not have a primary care physician.

Additionally, these same resources are allocated to develop initiatives with member input from the Member Advisory Workgroup committee to increase well-child visits and preventive screenings.

The Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI) of Connecticut notes that low-income children and those in the foster care system are less likely to receive screening-related care and more likely to experience delays in cognitive and motor development. This disparity in health care access in children may lead to significant academic, social, and economic barriers during adulthood. Through its Educating Practices (EPIC) program, however, the institute has assisted nearly two-thirds of Connecticut’s pediatric practices in implementing screening services to combat this issue. This outreach has contributed to a nearly 10-fold increase in the number of children who were screened for developmental and behavioral health issues in Connecticut since 2008. This program and the interagency approach Connecticut uses has promoted early intervention and age-appropriate screenings to ensure that children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP are able to access the care they need to be successful.

For more information about other states’ efforts to promote healthy child development, explore National Academy for State Health Policy’s Healthy Child State Resource Center  and read this NASHP report State and Federal Officials Explore Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child Development in a New Era.