Early Childhood Developmental Issues

For additional related resources, please visit the following NRCPFC webpages:


Guides

  • Supporting Infants, Toddlers and Families Impacted by Caregiver Mental Health Problems, Substance Abuse, and Trauma – A Community Action Guide
    Using a case study approach, this guide published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) presents resources that service providers, advocates, and practitioners can use to better understand and engage the community in responding to children whose caregivers are negatively impacted by mental illness, substance abuse, or trauma. (October 2012)

  • Checklist of Needed Services for Children in Foster Care
    This checklist from the Child Welfare League of America identifies necessary services for children in foster care.

  • Ensuring the Healthy Development of Infants in Foster Care: A Guide for Judges, Advocates and Child Welfare Professionals
    This resource from Zero to Three is a working tool for those involved in the court process to understand the questions to ask and the resources that can address the special needs of infants in foster care and their families. It was jointly published with the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children.

  • A Practical Guide for Improving Child Developmental Services
    By improving their office systems, pediatric practices can offer better developmental care to the children and families they serve. This manual has been developed by the Healthy Development Learning Collaborative, a 12-month quality improvement initiative, to give offices step-by-step guidance on how to revise their office systems. The Guide offers a number of newly tested and established resources--including checklists, surveys, bibliographies, and helpful links.

  • Pediatric Developmental Screening: Understanding and Selecting Screening Instruments
    This tool from the Commonwealth Fund helps providers choose and apply the structured screening method that is most appropriate for their practice setting. The manual is based on an extensive review of scientific research on available developmental screening instruments.

  • Developmental Screening and Assessment Instruments: With an Emphasis on Social and Emotional Development for Young Children Ages Birth through Five
    The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center has compiled comprehensive information about early childhood developmental screening and assessment instruments. Almost 40 instruments are categorized by whether they address multiple domains of development or whether they focus on social emotional development. Each instrument comes with a description and information about the age range for which it is appropriate, the time needed to administer the instrument, how scoring works, and who should conduct the screening.

  • Your Baby’s Development (Handouts in English and Spanish)
    Your Baby’s Development is a resource by Zero to Three that guides parents through their child’s first 36 months of life. Provided in both English and Spanish, the resource is divided into nine age-based handouts that probe into issues and frequently asked questions surrounding each stage of development. The resource includes: a chart that helps parents know what to expect developmentally from their children, and how they can help their child learn at each stage; frequently asked questions and answers; a spotlight section that goes into greater depth on a common issue or challenge for each age; a research summary specific to each stage of development, and what it means for parents.

Resources

  • Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives
    This report published by ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends presents the results and findings from the Survey of State Child Welfare Agency Initiatives for Maltreated Infants and Toddlers, which was conducted from September 2012 to March 2013. The survey asked state child welfare agency representatives to respond to questions regarding the policies and practices that guide their work in addressing the needs of infants and toddlers who have been maltreated.  It sets the stage for understanding how states are currently supporting young children and calls on child welfare policymakers and administrators to establish stronger policies and practices that specifically address the unique needs of our youngest children.  (September 2013)

  • Getting to Know the Unthought Known: Trauma, Patterns, and Very Young Children in Foster Care
    The traumatic experiences of very young children in foster care are discussed, and the neurological patterns that developed as a result of this trauma are explained in this article by Diane Kukulis, published in The Infant Crier (p. 9-12). The need for practitioners to explore these patterns to "be with" the young children and their families is emphasized and practitioners are urged to help caregivers and children to hold feelings that arise and to co-regulate with them. (Winter 2012)

  • A Developmental Approach to Child Welfare Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: A Self-Assessment Tool for States and Counties Administering Child Welfare Services
    In an effort to guide states through the process of self-evaluation and strategic planning, ZERO TO THREE worked in collaboration with six organizations—The Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Trends, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, National Black Child Development Institute, National Council of La Raza, and Voices for America’s Children—to develop this self-assessment tool. This tool stems from the collective vision of leading child welfare and early childhood development organizations. It is designed to help states and counties both prepare to meet the new federal requirements and conduct ongoing assessment and quality improvement efforts. (May 2012

  • Who are the Infants in Out-of-Home Care?
    Studying children in out-of-home care is laden with challenges. One of these challenges lies in the fact that there is considerable diversity in the population of children. The authors of this Chapin Hall issue brief argue that infants represent a distinctive subset of the out-of-home care population with unique needs and strengths. Using data from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive and data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), they distinguish the infant population in out-of-home care from older children in terms of their incidence and duration of time spent in care, their experiences in care, and characteristics of the infants themselves and their birth families. They also discuss the developmental distinctiveness of infancy and the particular vulnerabilities infants in care face in terms of delays in cognitive, social, and emotional development. (May 2011)
  • Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children
    This is the final report of an analysis of the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. It summarizes findings associated with developmental and early intervention service needs of children under age three who have been abused or neglected.

  • Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System Need Developmental Checkups (It's Also the Law)
    This paper from National CASA discusses the importance of early screening for disabilities in children in the child welfare system, reviews federal regulations requiring such screening, and describes the federal early intervention program for children ages birth through 36 months. High-quality screening tools are identified, and requirements on the screening of children prenatally exposed to legal drugs are reviewed. Additional resources on disabilities and screening requirements are listed.

  • Mental Health Assessments for Infants and Toddlers
    This paper from Child Law Practice defines mental health in infants and young children as the capacity of the child from birth to three to experience, regulate and express emotions; form close and secure interpersonal relationships; and explore the environment and learn. It discusses the goals of infant mental health assessments, kinds of cases in which such assessments are useful, and who should conduct the assessments. Qualifications of evaluators are described and include infant mental health training, experience with infants/toddlers, and skill in evaluating and diagnosing young children. Components of infant mental health assessments are then explained, as well as the tools that are typically used during the assessment, the types of information that assessments can offer the court and advocates, and pitfalls and challenges in conducting infant mental health assessments. A list of warning signs that may indicate mental health problems in infants is provided.

  • Supporting the Social-Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers in Foster Care
    This information sheet from the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare offers practical strategies to caseworkers and foster parents for supporting the social-emotional development of foster children under the age of five.

  • Social and Emotional Development in Early Childhood: What Every Policymaker Should Know
    This research brief from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) looks at the risks posed to young children's social-emotional development, barriers to supportive services and strategies under current policies and makes recommendations for policy improvements to support effective child development and prevention services. It examines the needs of young children as well as the adverse impact of unmet needs, the family and environmental risk factors, the role of foster care and child welfare, and race and ethnicity, the failure of current service delivery and support systems, and practice barriers due to Medicaid and other state policies. (August 2009)

    Also available is the report Promoting Social-emotional Wellbeing in Early Intervention Services: A Fifty-state Viewthat outlines how states have leveraged different policy choices to support the integration of social-emotional developmental strategies into early intervention services. (September 2009)

  • The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
    On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law. Included in this new law is a provision for the creation of a Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The purpose of this program is to fund States to provide evidence-based home visitation services to improve outcomes for children and families who reside in at risk communities. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) look forward to partnering with States and others to foster effective, well-coordinated home visiting programs for at-risk families. The goal of these efforts is to promote early childhood health and development and, ultimately, to improve outcomes and opportunities for children and families. Read this document to learn more about this program, including ACF and HRSA’s plans to develop and issue a funding opportunity announcement to address the needs assessment required by the statute, as well as suggested steps that States can take to begin preparing in anticipation of the funding announcement for the needs assessment.

  • Who are the Infants in Out-of-Home Care?
    Studying children in out-of-home care is laden with challenges. One of these challenges lies in the fact that there is considerable diversity in the population of children. The authors of this Chapin Hall issue brief argue that infants represent a distinctive subset of the out-of-home care population with unique needs and strengths. Using data from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive and data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), they distinguish the infant population in out-of-home care from older children in terms of their incidence and duration of time spent in care, their experiences in care, and characteristics of the infants themselves and their birth families. They also discuss the developmental distinctiveness of infancy and the particular vulnerabilities infants inc are face in terms of delays in cognitive, social, and emotional development. (May 2011)

Teleconferences

  • Young Children in Foster Care 0-3
    On August 20, 2008, the NRCPFC hosted a teleconferences for state foster care and adoption managers on rural issues in child welfare. To listen to the audio files and download the handouts, visit our archived teleconferences page.

Websites

  • Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in the Foster Care System
    In October of 2002, the Georgetown University Child Development Center completed a three-year study to identify and describe promising approaches for meeting the health care needs of children in the foster care system. In this study, the term health care encompassed physical, mental, emotional, developmental and dental health. The study was funded by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and supported in part by the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families. In response to a national search for promising approaches, the study collected information on over 100 different approaches. Multiple products that represent the findings of the study are identified and described on this website.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
    This multidisciplinary institute at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill conducts research on issues concerning young children and families.
 

Last updated 10/28/13