Screening for Health-Related Social Needs in Pediatric Settings
The Foundation believes that screening for health-related social needs and promoting relational health are essential components of a high performing pediatric medical home. When connected to a larger system of support both within a medical home and in the community, screening provides essential visibility that supports efforts to differentiate responses, better organize care planning, and activate local resources. Supporting high performing pediatric medical homes sits at the intersection of two bodies of the Foundation’s work: Clinics as Community Hubs for Health portfolio and Resilient Children portfolio.
This screening initiative is grounded in research demonstrating that brain architecture is shaped by early experiences, particularly during the sensitive period that occurs prenatally through age three. These early experiences and the degree to which they help or hinder healthy development depend upon relationships and environmental factors. However, until children enter public school (usually at age 5 when the window on this critical period is narrowing), we have little visibility into which families are struggling to provide positive early experiences. Because pediatric care reaches almost all children shortly after birth and maintains a connection to families at regular intervals via well child visits, pediatrics offers the best prospect to identify families that need support during this critical period of development.
This page contains resources designed for the Foundation’s grantees providing pediatric care but is open to any organizations interested in improving early childhood outcomes. This page will be updated periodically.
Note: While effective developmental screenings to identify delays due to conditions such as autism or cerebral palsy are a critical component of pediatric care, they are outside the focus of this effort.
For more information, please contact our Senior Program Officers leading this work: