early screening matters!

A meaningful standardized measure of child development remains elusive. But we have a plan to build a stronger network of support that puts children at the center.

Connecting all children to the services they need

Academic data is important, but it does not tell the whole story of a child’s readiness for kindergarten. Recent studies suggest that 1 in 4 children ages 0-5 are at-risk for a developmental delay, but children in poverty have a two-fold higher prevalence than those who are privately insured.

Even worse, only 23% of pediatricians in a recent national survey reported using a standardized screening tool, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations to screen babies and toddlers at 9 months, 18 months and 30 months.

The Early Screening Matters Escambia! team uses statistics like these to identify our community’s challenges with both early identification of developmental concerns and consistent access to supports and services. Our team is taking a holistic look at the barriers and solutions to early identification and their impact on a child’s kindergarten readiness.

The goal is for this work to improve our community’s ability to identify the developmental and social-emotional needs of our youngest children as early as possible and connect them with appropriate programs, services and therapies right here in our community.

It is easier, less costly, and more impactful to intervene early in the development of a child’s brain than it is to do so later.

Better Together Goals - Children-centered: Parents, families and communities + Pediatricians and health providers + Early childhood centers, programs and services


Increase the number of children screened by an appropriate developmental screening tool

Increase awareness of the importance of early developmental screening

Improve our community’s ability to identify the developmental and social-emotional needs of young children

Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University