Developmental Screening and Children Involved in Colorado's Child Welfare System - CAPTA and Beyond

Research has shown that toxic stress, including abuse and/or neglect that occurs when a child is young, can have negative impacts on brain/cognitive development, attachment, and academic achievement. While a young child's development may be more susceptible to toxic stress, early intervention during this critical period can be most effective in mitigating the detrimental effects of that stress. It is known that the provision of early services and intervention to support the healthy development of young children can have positive effects that last throughout childhood and into adulthood (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2010).

The Developmental Screening Educational Tool was developed to:

  • Acknowledge the misalignment of the child welfare requirements related to referrals for developmental screening and the services available to children ages three through four;
  • Provide guidance to communities throughout Colorado on fulfilling the requirements of federal law and state statute regarding developmental screening for children under age five;
  • Affirm and clarify the developmental screening roles and responsibilities of child welfare caseworkers, early intervention service personnel, parents, Special Education Administrative Unit personnel, entities that conduct developmental screening, and other community stakeholders; and
  • Provide a tool for further conversation in local communities to ensure collaborative screening and services for children under age five.
  • Guidance in this educational tool acknowledges Colorado’s structure and values with regard to local flexibility and decision-making. Since local procedures often vary in terms of how state and federal requirements are met across Colorado, personnel from each community across the child welfare, early intervention, and education sectors are encouraged to review local procedures, explore and deepen existing collaborations, and consider improvements and recommended practices that go beyond minimal requirements.