Policy and Advocacy

The First 5 Association plays a key role in advancing HMG and identifying additional early identification and intervention systems improvement needs. Working with other early childhood advocates and all the First 5 commissions, the First 5 Association’s Early Identification and Intervention Policy Agenda recommends that California utilize a multi-level approach to:

  • Educate and support health care providers to identify and refer children at risk for delays.
  • Inform families about the importance of screening and early treatment, and develop a centralized intake and referral process across counties.
  • Collect and analyze administrative data on children screened, assessed, and served in order to effectively track statewide progress towards addressing developmental delays.
  • Expand the Help Me Grow system to more counties and regions throughout California. 

Help Me Grow California provides a bridge across county systems to deliver a unified message that California must do a better job of ensuring all children receive developmental and behavioral screenings as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

California’s leaders must make developmental and behavioral screenings a policy priority by:

  • Requiring universal developmental screening and referral in all pediatric settings
  • Ensuring children’s health insurance plans provide developmental screenings that are covered at no cost under federal and state law
  • Expanding early identification efforts in preschool and early education sites
  • Increasing accessibility and use of online developmental screening tools 
  • Investing in child-centered care coordination to allow sharing of data to reduce duplication of services