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 Child Health Working to Build and Improve Systems

By Kate Taft, MPH
Senior Program Manager, CYSHCN

A Look Back
In 2014, the AMCHP child health work had a strong focus on resources to help build and improve systems for early childhood development and raise awareness of its impact on life-long health and well-being. Through the State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC), AMCHP developed resources around developmental screening and early identification. This included an environmental scan of related state program activities that broadly describes strategies that state Title V agencies and early childhood programs and partners are using to improve various aspects of the developmental screening process, amidst multiple challenges. Through meetings, conference calls and other venues, AMCHP has been engaging states, federal and national organization partners in discussions about the variety of initiatives and strategies to improve screening, early identification, referral and services, and how to align efforts and promote resources to help states improve systems.

Through Act Early state systems grants, AMCHP has offered support and technical assistance to seven states to utilize resources available through the Learn the Signs. Act Early. program and to support state-based teams working to improve early identification of children with developmental delays and linkage to services within systems of care that serve young children under the age of five years. States use the Act Early materials and resources to promote and support healthy development for all children.

Looking Ahead
Over the next year, AMCHP will build on the work of the environmental scan and collaborations with states and partners, to develop resources that will help Title V programs and partners improve developmental screening systems in their states. AMCHP will be developing tools (frameworks, case studies, etc.) to help states address the new Title V National Performance Measure related to developmental screening, and include examples and links to resources for evidence-based or evidence-informed strategy measures. These efforts also will closely align with the National CYSHCN Systems Standards work (see CYSHCN feature).

We also plan exciting changes to the SPHARC website in 2015! These changes will allow our members and partners to more easily search and access the resources that have been developed by states to improve screening and early identification systems and services.

We look forward to helping our members communicate the value of effective programs and policies that impact early child health and development through resources such as the Raising of America document. The documentary, which will be launched this year, is a multimedia, public engagement and education initiative translating recent scientific findings on the effects of children's environments at birth and throughout childhood on life-long health and well-being. AMCHP will be disseminating the documentary to each Title V program and sharing resources through our website, newsletters, social media and other events.

Health Reform Connections: Children's, Including CYSHCN, Health under the ACA

Here are a few options to leverage opportunities to advance children's health under the new health reform law.

  • Health plans are required to cover all Bright Futures preventive services without cost sharing, which includes developmental screening, injury and violence prevention counseling, and promotion of healthy weight (including BMI screening).
  • The Medicaid eligibility for children is raised to minimum of 138 percent FPL.
  • The law extends presumptive eligibility beyond children and pregnant women and expands the role of hospitals in determining eligibility presumptively.
  • There are opportunities to advance medical and health homes at the state and local levels, such as though the Medicaid medical home option for states and community-based health teams.