A Health Resources and Services Administration grant will help increase early childhood screenings for children between the ages zero through five at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas clinics. Since the establishment of CHC/SEK in 2003, working with families so that children are “ready to learn” upon entering school has been a foundational goal. This grant provides one more avenue to help children succeed.
HRSA recently awarded $30 million to 151 health centers, including CHC/SEK, for expanding early childhood development programs. CHC/SEK received the maximum award of $200,000. This grant will strengthen CHC/SEK’s capacity to provide more children with recommended developmental screenings and follow-up services.
CHC/SEK’s Ages & Stages questionnaires (ASQ) will transition to online, making it available before the child’s appointment; the new system will also score the ASQs eliminating the need to do so manually. It will fund additional staff to encourage participation, make referrals, and follow-up with families. Other options to complete the questionnaire will be available for those without internet access.
Screening efforts help identify developmental or behavioral conditions, language delays, or other needs, such as food insecurity and housing instability, that can contribute to gaps in school readiness and impact a student’s ability to succeed.
“Early childhood development is key in the overall development of any child,” Patient Education & Support Manager Julie Laverack said. “It helps with emotional regulation, decision making and impulse control. Early intervention for developmental delays is essential. By meeting the child’s needs as early as possible, many developmental delays can be addressed prior to attending school.”