The intent of this strategy is to ensure that all children have access to high-quality preventive and continuous health care, including physical, mental, oral and nutritional health. Its goal is to improve the health and safety of children in early care and education programs, birth to age 5.
Funding Plan Highlights
Early identification and intervention is a great need in the region. In 2019, programs providing services to young children collaborated and agreed to the use of one developmental screening tool. Through the region’s Service Coordination strategy, First Things First provided train-the-trainer learning opportunities for the region’s home visiting, child care and Head Start providers so that children are screened with a common tool. An overall referral system with local and county wide service providers is currently in development to enhance this collaborative approach to screening, identifying and providing intervention resources to young children.
After discussion and further analysis of regional needs and opportunities, the regional council has decided to move forward to address an immediate need in the region. The regional council wishes to build the capacity of a pediatric provider in the region to identify and diagnose children with autism, refer them to needed services and connect them with early intervention services provided by the school district. By supporting one-time training and certification of a second medical provider in the region to diagnose children with autism, the region will double the capacity of the local health system to identify young children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis and streamline their access to needed services. The regional council believes this investment will lead to sustainable health systems change, and compliment the other programmatic investments aimed at addressing the concerns of families of children with special needs.
The Children Health Systems Change Strategy will bring local organizations that conduct screening together to promote use of common screening tools and shared acceptance of screening results. The group will also develop a common understanding of appropriate pathways for referrals. This will be an integrated approach with desired outcomes of improving screening quality, reducing screening redundancies, and improving the local referral system to connect children with appropriate services. Partners will include: Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP), the Arizona Department of Health Services, local pediatricians, school districts, Head Start and local home visitation partners.
Find more details about strategies related to Health in the FTF Strategy Toolkit.