• May 2015
  • Vol. 16, No. 4

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Developmental, Behavioral Screening for Housing and Shelter Providers

As part of the Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! initiative—part of a Federal effort to encourage healthy child development—the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education published a guide for shelter and housing assistance providers serving vulnerable families during their transition to permanent housing. The guide highlights the importance of conducting behavioral and developmental screenings of children upon entry into shelter or housing assistance programs to address potential issues and determine eligibility for early intervention services.

Risk factors and early adverse experiences, such as homelessness, child maltreatment, and exposure to domestic violence, may have negative long-term consequences on a child's psychosocial functioning. A partnership between housing providers, families, and specialists is crucial to best support the development of children and ensure their well-being. Shelter providers can discuss developmental and behavioral screening with parents, and the guide includes recommendations on how and when to engage families, address screening results, and refer families to specialists.

The guide is accompanied by a compendium of research-based developmental screening tools (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/screening_compendium_march2014.pdf [1 MB]) and a developmental screening passport (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/screening_passport.pdf [2 MB]) to help parents monitor their child's progress and track and share screening information with all members of their child's team.

Similar guides targeted for other professionals, such as child welfare professionals, primary care providers, and early care and education providers, are available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ecd/child-health-development/watch-me-thrive.

Access Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! A Housing and Shelter Provider's Guide to Developmental and Behavioral Screening at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/shelter_screening_guide.pdf (272 KB).

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! in the June 2014 issue.

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