Health 740

Children are screened and connected to early intervention services

Girl playing with blocksWhat We Do

We fund social-emotional and developmental screening and early intervention services to support children’s healthy development. We lead conversations and efforts in the community to increase children’s access to early mental health services.

Why We Do It

Access to early intervention programs is critical for children’s healthy development and lifelong success.

A report by Children Now (2016) found that 1 in 4 children in California under the age of 6 years are at moderate or high risk for developmental, behavioral or social delays, but fewer than 1 in 3 children in California receive timely developmental screenings.

Our Results

We support efforts to ensure children are screened and connected to early intervention services.

Watch Me Grow

The Watch Me Grow (WMG) program leads a range of activities to support families and children who have been identified with (or as being at risk for) developmental and/or social-emotional delays including screenings, home visiting and weekly language/literacy groups. The program acts as a central hub in the county by responding to requests from parents for services, assisting in linking parents to resources, and helping professionals understand how to assist families in obtaining resources. Watch Me Grow ensures that families receive the services that they need to support their children's development.

Learn more about Watch Me Grow

In 2014-15, the Watch Me Grow program…

Screened and referred children: 
Children who would not otherwise have access to services received screenings and service referrals

Connected children and families with early intervention:
Families received services as needed following screenings (e.g. home visiting, playgroup to support child’s language development, referrals for further assessments)

Monitored children’s improvement:
Children who received services for delays were re-screened to monitor their improvement and receive referrals to more services, if needed

…and as a result

302 children were screened for social-emotional and developmental delays.

200 children were referred for further services.

103 children received home visits, for a total of 876 home visits.

30 children finished a 12-week playgroup to support their speech and early literacy.

72% of children (44 of 61) improved after completing home visiting; these children showed improvement in their screening scores and did not need further services.

Advocacy for Early Childhood Mental Health Services

As an advocate for early childhood mental health, we lead and support efforts to increase children’s access to screenings, assessments and treatment.

ThinkingSpeaking Up for Young Children:

We coordinate and lead the Mental Health Services Act 0-5 Collaborative to identify ways to better integrate the work of mental health providers in the community who serve children 0-5 years and build an effective system of early childhood social emotional health.

Through advocacy and coordination of county efforts, we work to ensure that our youngest children have access to mental health care.