Screenings and Follow-Up For Health, Development, and Behavior
How are your children doing? This question stays on the mind of every Head Start and Early Head Start staff member, manager, parent, and community partner. It is the key question we seek to answer in our national research and evaluation studies. And it led the Congress in 1998 to enact new legislative mandates that Head Start programs are beginning to implement to assess children's progress towards specific learning outcomes, and to analyze and use information on child outcomes in their local program self-assessment process.
How are your children doing? A major way we begin to answer this question is through initial screening and ongoing assessment of every child in Head Start and Early Head Start. As mandated in the Program Performance Standards, initial screening of children is carried out to identify evidence of developmental, sensory, or behavioral concerns and to determine if children should receive a more formal evaluation to identify disabilities. Ongoing assessment is also required for each child to identify his strengths and needs, to help tailor learning experiences and other services, and to support staff in communicating and working with parents and families.
Health and Safety
- TNS focuses on the health of the children enrolled in its program.
- TNS has a Health Coordinator, who ensures that every child receives a health screening within 45 days and dental screenings within 90 days of enrollment. This includes recording height and weights, vision screening, and hearing screening.
- TNS staff works to ensure that each family obtains a “medical home” and that all children eligible for Medicaid or CHIP are enrolled.
- The agency ensures that each child has a physical check-up as well as a dental exam every year, that each child is as up-to-date as possible on his/her immunizations, and that each child is checked daily for possible health problems.
- If a child is discovered to have a disability, all efforts are made to help that child and his family deal with and perhaps overcome difficulties related to the situation.
- Family Advocates are available to assist parents with health concerns, to help complete applications for insurance and/or birth certificates, to offer referrals to appropriate agencies for social service or other needs, or to help with transportation needs in keeping doctor and dental appointments.
- Relationships with local dental providers help ensure that all children receive timely and appropriate care.