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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:
Administrative Units refers to the special education administrative unit which is a school district, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), Board of Cooperatives Services (BOCS), or the State Charter School Institute, that is providing educational services to exceptional children and is responsible for the local administration and implementation of the Exceptional Children’s Education Act.
CAPTA is the federal legislation that guides states in implementing a child protection system. CAPTA was first established in 1974 and was most recently reauthorized in 2010. One provision of CAPTA is the requirement to refer children under age three with founded child abuse and/or neglect to the early intervention system for a developmental screening.
Child Find is used in two different ways:
Child welfare caseworker is the worker(s) assigned to work with the family while they are involved with the child welfare system. In some county departments of human/social services, the family may have one worker during the assessment phase and a different worker if either a non-court-involved or dependency & neglect case is opened. In other county departments of human/social services, the family may have one worker throughout their involvement with child welfare. For more information: See Term and Definition: Involved with Child Welfare
Colorado Department of Education (CDE) provides leadership, resources, support and accountability to the state’s 178 school districts, schools, teachers and administrators to help them build capacity to meet the needs of the state’s public school students. CDE is the administrative arm of the State Board of Education and is responsible for implementing state and federal education laws, disbursing state and federal education funds, holding schools and districts accountable for performance, licensing all educators, and providing public transparency of performance and financial data.
Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) The Colorado Department of Human Services’ mission is to design and deliver high quality human and health services that improve the safety, independence, and well-being of the people of Colorado. Both the Office of Early Childhood and the Office of Children, Youth & Families are a part of CDHS.
Community Centered Boards (CCBs) are non-profit agencies in the local community that serve individuals with disabilities and developmental delays from birth throughout the life span. There are 20 CCBs across the State that contract with CDHS to provide early intervention services.
Developmental screening is a way to determine if a child’s physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and adaptive development is typical for his/her age and if there is a need for further evaluation. In Colorado, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a commonly used standardized developmental screening tool.
Early Intervention (EI) Colorado is a state and federally funded program (IDEA Part C) available statewide to support families with an infant or toddler, birth through age two, determined to have a developmental delay or disability. The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is the lead agency for IDEA Part C in Colorado. Through the provision of early intervention services in the home, such as occupational, speech, or physical therapy, families are given strategies to support and promote their child’s development, within family activities and community life, to help their infants and toddlers develop and learn. It is a voluntary program that is provided at no cost to the family and does not discriminate based on race, legal status, culture, religion, income level, or disability. Early intervention services are provided through contracts between the Community Centered Boards (CCBs) and CDHS, Office of Early Childhood, Early Intervention Colorado. There are three ways that children are determined to be eligible for services:
Early intervention system refers to the coordinated efforts to conduct child identification, referral, screening and/or evaluation activities for children birth through age two. These coordinated efforts involve Early Intervention (see above) and AU Child Find.
Educational surrogate, as it relates to IDEA Part B, “shall mean a person who meets the qualifications established in Section 6.02(8)(e)(iii) of these Rules and is assigned to represent the child in all educational decision-making processes pertaining to the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the child and the provision of a free, appropriate public education to the child whenever the parent of a child with a disability is unknown, cannot be located, is unavailable or the child is a ward of the State. The assignment of an educational surrogate parent shall be in accordance with Section 6.02(8) of these Rules.” (Exceptional Children’s Education Act 2.13)
Evaluation is a term that refers to the procedures used to determine whether the child has a significant delay or disability. See questions below for more information:
Family Services Plan (FSP) is developed between the child welfare caseworker and the family to determine the services and outcomes that will be provided to ensure that the child is safe and risk of harm is mitigated. For more information, see Volume 7.301.23.
Founded means “that the abuse and/or neglect assessment established by a preponderance of the evidence that an incident(s) of abuse and/or neglect occurred” (Child Welfare Rules Volume 7.000.2 Definitions). Please complete the following mandated reporter training to find out more about what constitutes abuse and/or neglect: http://www.coloradocwts.com/community-training. For more information see question “What does it mean for a family to be involved with child welfare?”
Inconclusive means “that the abuse and/or neglect assessment established that there was some likelihood that an incident(s) of abuse and/or neglect occurred but assessment could not obtain the evidence necessary to make a founded finding” (Child Welfare Rules Volume 7.000.2 Definitions).
Individualized Education Program (IEP) means a written plan for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA) and IDEA, Part B.
Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) means a written plan for providing early intervention services to eligible children and their families, in accordance with 34 C.F.R. Section 303.340. The IFSP documents how the family and other members of the Early Intervention team will work together to address the needs the family has identified based on information from the child’s evaluation and/or assessment, and from the concerns, resources, and priorities they have identified. It will also list the services the family needs to help their child develop and learn.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Parts B and C, is a federal law ensuring the provision of services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. Children and youth, ages 3-21, with educational disabilities receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B. Infants and toddlers with disabilities, birth through age two, and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C.
Involved with child welfare: Families may be involved with child welfare in multiple ways:
The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) shares the CDHS vision for the people of Colorado to be safe, healthy and prepared to achieve their greatest aspirations. Collaborating with our partners, the OCYF mission is to design and deliver high quality human and health services that improve the safety, independence, and well-being of Colorado’s children, youth and families. The Division of Child Welfare (DCW) is housed within OCYF and more information can be found on the Management Team & Organization page.
Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is in CDHS and includes: Child Care Licensing; Child Maltreatment Prevention; Child Care Quality Initiatives; Colorado Child Care Assistance Program; Early Childhood Councils; Early Childhood Mental Health Services; Early Intervention Colorado Program (Part C/Early Intervention); Head Start Collaboration, Home Visitation Programs, Promoting Safe and Stable Families program; Race to the Top; and Safe Care. The OEC was created to ensure greater cross-collaboration across early childhood programs and services.
Parent, in this educational tool, generally refers to both biological and adoptive parents. Please see the following questions below for more information:
Parent Surrogate, as it relates to IDEA Part C, is defined in the Early Intervention Colorado State Plan as a person “who meets state required procedures and requirements and who has been appointed in accordance with 34 C.F.R. Section 303.422, which is incorporated by reference in Section 7.900, A, 5, shall be designated to ensure that the rights of a child are protected, if:
Release of information is a document signed by an individual and/or family that provides consent to share information across agencies.
Service Coordinators work with the family throughout their time in the early intervention program to assist them in accessing services and to inform them of their legal rights. They help families identify their strengths and needs, find resources, think about decisions the family needs to make, and coordinate all the services on the IFSP.
Special education is specially designed instruction, including adapting the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction, to meet the specific needs of a child that result from his/her disability. Special education is provided at no cost to parents to meet the unique needs of the child with a disability. Special education ensures that the child has access to the general curriculum and supports the child in meeting educational standards.
Termination of Parental Rights per Colorado Revised Statutes means "the permanent elimination by court order of all parental rights and duties" (C.R.S. 19-1-103(117)). The court makes the decision to terminate parental rights in a timely manner based on the parents' demonstrated actions and the best interests of the child. For more information, click here.
Trails is the state automated child welfare information system computer database.
Unfounded means “that the abuse and/or neglect assessment established that there is clear evidence that no incident of abuse and/or neglect occurred” (Child Welfare Rules volume 7.000.2 Definitions).
A: A child’s primary care provider (PCP) has an important role in the lives of the children and families. Most PCPs conduct routine developmental screening at well child visits.
A: At the family level, both agencies should ask parent(s) to sign a release of information (ROI) to ensure open lines of communication. With a signed ROI, some examples of best practice collaboration include:
A: At the family level, child welfare and screening entities should ask parent(s) to sign a release of information (ROI) so that there can be open lines of communication. With a signed ROI, some examples of collaboration include:
At the community level, community screening entities and child welfare staff are encouraged to meet regularly, share personnel contact lists so that relevant staff can communicate, and participate in relevant community work groups collaboratively.
A: The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is responsible for the oversight of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and the Office of Children, Youth, & Families (OCYF) which allows for a strong collaboration at the state level. OEC is responsible for the implementation of Part C of IDEA in Colorado, including contractual agreements with and monitoring of Community Centered Boards (CCBs). As a state-supervised, county administered child welfare system, OCYF provides guidance, training, technical assistance, and coaching to county departments of human/social services as needed to fulfill statutory and regulatory requirements.
OEC and OCYF have strengthened the CAPTA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that allows for data sharing, clarifies roles and responsibilities for collaboration, and provides for consistency in expectations for local communities.
Examples of collaboration include:
OEC and OCYF also work closely with other state agencies regarding early intervention services, including the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). These collaborations include identifying state-level barriers, conducting joint training, and the development of the CAPTA FAQ document.
In addition, Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) provides content expertise and facilitation to support community partners interested in creating and implementing systems that improve service coordination and promote optimal child development.
Finally, members of OEC, OCYF, and CDE work with local communities as needed to address concerns and develop strong relationships. This includes training related to state requirements, acknowledging the gaps in the state-level system, and helping communities explore options for meeting children's needs.
A: The child welfare caseworker is required by State Statute (26-5-108) and Volume 7.104.132(E) to refer children under the age of five for a developmental screening when that child is the victim of a founded incident of child abuse and/or neglect. Child welfare caseworkers must document the referral in the “developmental screen” window in Trails. The worker must also print and e-mail or fax the referral letter generated in Trails to the identified screening entity. In addition to the referral letter, there is an option in Trails to print a letter of information to the parents.
The child welfare caseworker does not need parent consent to make the referral with basic family contact information. However, in order to share any detailed information about the family, the child welfare caseworker must obtain a release of information. Best practice is to discuss the referral process with the family and to obtain a release of information prior to making the referral or as soon as possible after making the referral.
There is a distinct difference of where the referral for developmental screening should be sent depending on the age of the child. Below is a flowchart showing where to make referrals when child abuse and/or neglect is founded on a child under age five. Some county departments of human/social services have developed a protocol for referring children for developmental screening. Child welfare caseworkers can work with their team/supervisors to learn about other county-specific requirements.
A: The child welfare caseworker has no statutory requirement to make a referral for developmental screening. However, if s/he has concerns about the child’s development the child welfare caseworker should talk to the family about the concerns and discuss next steps. This includes families participating in a Family Assessment Response (FAR) where there are no findings. Options for next steps include:
Below is a flowchart showing where to make referrals when child abuse and/or neglect is NOT founded on a child under age five for developmental screening AND the caseworker has concerns about the child’s development. Some county departments of human/social services have developed a protocol for referring children for developmental screening. Child welfare caseworkers can work with their team/supervisors to learn about other county-specific requirements.
A: For children birth through age two, Colorado’s early intervention (EI) system is responsible for receiving and responding to referrals for a developmental screen or evaluation from child welfare.
As part of the EI system, local Community Centered Boards (CCBs) receive referrals for developmental screening and work in conjunction with the local Administrative Unit (AU) Child Find team to complete screening and/or evaluation activities.
For children ages three through four, there are several entities who may conduct developmental screening. For example:
County departments of human/social services, in collaboration with community agencies, are charged with identifying entities within their communities that are able to complete developmental screening for children age three through four. In some communities there may be many resources available to conduct developmental screening while in other communities there may be limited resources.
Child welfare directors and/or administrators can work with their local community agencies and stakeholders to identify appropriate agencies to receive developmental screening referrals. They may also work with community agencies and stakeholders to identify resource gaps or limitations and discuss how to fill these gaps.
In collaboration with stakeholders and agencies, the county department of human/social services can develop procedures with community agencies to determine what activities and communication occurs after a referral is made.
A: Depending in which community the child lives, there are other opportunities for a child to receive a developmental screen.
A: It is recommended that county child welfare administrators and supervisors work with local community agencies to develop a protocol for making referrals for developmental screening. Screening agencies may have varying protocols and policies in different communities. It can be helpful for screening agencies and child welfare administrators, supervisors, and staff to provide cross-training so that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
For more information, see the following questions:
A: State and federal special education laws require AU Child Find teams to perform evaluations of children age 3 and older suspected to be a child with a disability. The AU Child Find mandate is specific to special education and does not align directly with the child welfare mandate to refer children who have been victims of abuse or neglect for developmental screening. There is no specific agency or program universally tasked with conducting developmental screening of children age three or older from the child welfare system.
Children who are victims of substantiated cases of abuse or neglect may be referred to the AU Child Find for a special education screening and/or evaluation when a worker, parent or guardian, or someone else who knows the child has concerns about the child’s development and learning. Referral of children who have been victims of child abuse and/or neglect to Child Find when they are suspected to need special education services fulfills the state level requirement for child welfare to refer for developmental screening. Referrals of children age 3 and older should be made to the AU Child Find contact in the school district in which the child resides.
Child welfare administrators are encouraged to work with local Directors of Special Education and Child Find Coordinators to discuss whether or not the AU Child Find is appropriate to refer to when a child does not exhibit a developmental delay or there are no concerns about the child’s ability to learn.
AU Child Find teams determine their local approaches and activities to identify children for special education from the general population and whether they will offer ongoing universal developmental screening as a part of their outreach efforts.
In some communities the AU Child Find provides universal developmental screening activities. In those cases, general referrals for developmental screening may be made to the AU Child Find, even when there is not an established concern about the child’s development.
AU Child Find teams who do universal preschool screening activities typically work in partnership with their Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) colleagues in the school district so that children who are not eligible for special education, but who have established educational risks (e.g. a history of substantiated child abuse and/or neglect) can be considered for state funded preschool services.
A: The Special Education Administrative Unit (AU) has no legal responsibility related to developmental screening. In fact, no specific agency or program is universally tasked with conducting developmental screening of children over the age of three from the child welfare system.
Other public school programs, initiatives, and activities may be resources to consider when children have been victims of child abuse and/or neglect. For example, the Colorado Preschool Program, locally funded preschool options, or other school district programs, may be resources for children who are not suspected to have a need for special education. Whether and how those programs perform developmental screening depends on their unique program guidelines and processes.
A: There is no requirement to refer siblings for developmental screening. Only the children who are specifically identified as victims of abuse and/or neglect are required to be referred. For example, if a four year old is identified as a victim, but the two year old sibling is not identified as a victim, then the child welfare caseworker is only required to refer the four year old and not the two year old sibling for a developmental screening. However, the two year old may fall under the category of “General Child Welfare” referral as outlined in the question: What types of referrals come from child welfare for developmental screening?
A: When making a referral, the child welfare caseworker must complete the “developmental screening” window in Trails and email or fax the referral form generated in Trails.
At the time of referral, only the information that the child welfare caseworker fills out in the “Dev Screen” window in Trails can be shared with the agency receiving the referral. There is space on the “Dev Screen” for “Additional Comments” where child welfare caseworkers can include information related to the child’s development. All other information must be kept confidential until a release of information is signed.
Some examples of information that is important to share in “Additional Comments”:
A: The child welfare caseworker’s responsibility depends on whether or not the family continues to be involved with child welfare.
If the family is no longer involved with child welfare, then the child welfare caseworker does not have any further responsibility and does not have the right to share any further information about the family with the agency receiving the referral.
If the family is still involved with child welfare, then the child welfare caseworker is encouraged to take the following steps to ensure collaboration and coordinated services for the family:
A: When a local Community Centered Board or other partner within the early intervention system conducts a developmental screen of a child who has been referred (a post-referral screening), the following requirements regarding parental consent must be met:
Other entities within communities conduct developmental screens and have their own policies regarding consent.
A: Written parental consent must be obtained prior to any evaluation and/or assessment being conducted for a child age birth through two. See: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screenings and evaluations?
A: Whether parental consent is required prior to screening depends on the screening entity and the specific policies and procedures that govern those programs. Developmental screening is voluntary and parental involvement is critical and encouraged.
When a child is referred to AU Child Find for developmental screening, Child Find personnel must follow local policies and procedures as well as state rules for the Exceptional Children’s Education Act and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act Regulations. Whether parental consent is required for screening is dependent upon whether a special education referral has been initiated (1 CCR 301-8, 4.02 (3)):
A: If a child is referred to the AU Child Find for an educational concern and a decision has been made to evaluate to determine eligibility for Special Education, written consent is required. See: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screenings and evaluations?
A: Many entities within communities conduct developmental screens and have their own policies regarding consent. The following information applies to screenings and/or evaluations conducted by Community Centered Boards (CCBs) and AU Child Find under IDEA. Local CCBs and AU Child Find often have additional protocols or processes regarding consents for screenings and/or evaluations. For the full IDEA regulations, follow these links: IDEA (IDEA Part C: 34 C.F.R. 303.27 ; IDEA Part B: 34 C.F.R. 300.30.
A: Yes. The same person identified in the question: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screenings and evaluations? can revoke, at any time, participation in screenings, evaluations and services. Consent is voluntary and may be revoked for any evaluation or reevaluation that has not yet been conducted. (34 CRF 303.7 and 300.9(a)(b)(c)(1)and (2))
A: When the parent is incarcerated (e.g. prison or jail) and parental rights have NOT been terminated, the parent must be presented with the opportunity to provide or decline consent for screening and/or evaluation. Every attempt must be made and documented to obtain consent. If the CCB or AU Child Find is uncertain as to how to contact or is having difficulty contacting the parent(s), then the child welfare caseworker can be contacted to assist with gaining access to the parent(s).
When a parent is incarcerated in a local jail, any professional can typically arrange to meet with the parent in the facility to present the written consent form and explain the screening or evaluation process. Information is available online from the local jurisdiction as to the current location and status of anyone being held in the facility.
Parents in the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) can be contacted by mail with a letter of explanation requesting they sign and return the consent form, or contact information with the agency representative if they have questions. In Colorado, the Inmate Locator is available online to find the current prison facility where the parent is being housed: https://www.colorado.gov/cdoc/.
A: Early identification of developmental delays results in children getting the supports and services they need to do well in social and educational settings. Developmental screening is a routine and ongoing health and wellness activity for all families with young children. The following schedule of screenings is recommended for all children during well child visits:
A: Starting at birth and continuing throughout childhood, children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act and move. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye –bye” are called developmental milestones. Developmental milestones provide a general idea of the changes to expect as a child gets older and more information can be found online at “From Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive! A Child Welfare Caseworker’s Guide for Developmental and Behavioral Screening”.
A. Screening and/or evaluation activities under IDEA are voluntary. When consent is required under IDEA (CCB or Child Find) (See consent-related questions to determine when consent for screening and/or evaluation is required), the parent may decline consent or choose not to engage in screening and/or evaluation. When this occurs, the CCB or AU Child Find documents that consent was not provided and the referral is closed.
Some of the reasons parent(s) who are involved with child welfare choose not to engage in voluntary screening and/or evaluation services include:
Child welfare, early intervention, and education staff can help decrease the barriers through family engagement based on respect for both the child and parent, and strong communication that is necessary for effective collaboration between systems. Below are some talking points that may be helpful when speaking with families:
If a parent initially declines to consent to developmental screening or evaluation but the family remains involved with child welfare and there are concerns about the child’s development, then the child welfare ongoing worker may take additional steps (such as seeking a court order, assigning an educational surrogate, etc.).
A: Research demonstrates a clear relationship between child maltreatment and poor developmental outcomes for children. In one study, 47% of children with substantiated cases of child abuse and/or neglect had developmental problems in one or more domains (Ward, 2009). Areas of development often impacted by child maltreatment include social and emotional, cognitive, physical, and overall health. Even so, national studies have also shown that children that are maltreated continue to be underrepresented in Part C services. Reasons for this include difficulties in data tracking between child welfare and early intervention, families choosing not to accept or engage in voluntary services, and lack of training of child welfare and early intervention providers.
While all areas of development may be impacted by child abuse and neglect, it is well documented that social-emotional development is the domain most affected. As many as 70% of children who have been victims of child abuse and/or neglect will display long-term emotional and behavioral problems (USDHHS-ASPE, 2008). Social and emotional and behavioral issues of children impacted by abuse or neglect may include attachment issues, difficulty developing social relationships with peers, posttraumatic stress disorder, and antisocial behaviors. Increased levels of cortisol caused by traumatic experiences and stress may actually alter brain development, ultimately impacting both cognition and behavior. Those performing developmental screening may naturally find it easier to observe and document delays in cognitive, language, and physical development than with social-emotional development. Unless screening procedures and tools are specifically focused on identifying issues related to social-emotional functioning, concerns may not be identified.
In order to accurately identify social-emotional and behavioral issues associated with abuse or neglect, it is recommended that developmental screening procedures for this population include involvement with professionals with specific knowledge and skills in identifying social-emotional concerns. It is also recommended that developmental screening include the use of standardized tools designed specifically to identify social-emotional concerns. One commonly utilized screening tool which focuses exclusively on identifying concerns about social and emotional development is the Ages and Stages Questionnaires - Social-Emotional.
A: When a child is determined eligible for either early intervention or special education services, it is important to remember that all services are voluntary and that there are clear Procedural Safeguards for both early intervention/Part C (birth through two) and special education/Part B (3-21).
In the early intervention system, parent(s) must give consent to have their child screened and/or evaluated and the parent(s) have the right to decline screening and/or evaluation, and services.
For special education, parent(s) must give consent for both special education evaluation and provision of services. Parent(s) have the right to decline special education evaluation and services.
A: Parents are encouraged to discuss any disagreements with the results with those who conducted the developmental screening. It is important to discuss and resolve differences between various sources of information when they exist. If a parent feels the screening results do not accurately represent the child’s development it is important to consider gathering additional sources of information and to determine appropriate next steps collaboratively.
Consent: (see consent questions)
Screening and/or Evaluation activities: Parents’ knowledge about their child’s abilities, behavior, preferences, and experiences is an integral part of developmental screening and/or evaluation activities for very young children. A primary focus of professionals in conducting screening and/or evaluation is to team with parents to bring parent knowledge of the child forward at every stage in the screening and evaluation process. Information from professional observation and interaction with the child directly should always be interpreted along with relevant contextual information provided by the parent. Parents are integral members of the team along with the professionals who conduct screening and/or evaluation activities. In order to support parents in their role on the team, professionals are encouraged to provide information about the process and allow parents to make decisions about their desired levels of participation. Typical ways parents participate in screening and/or evaluation activities include: family interviews, completion of developmental checklists, engaging in a daily routine or play with their child while others observe, sharing relevant medical or health history, and interpreting child behavior and language.
Division of Early Childhood Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education: http://www.dec-sped.org/recommendedpractices
A: After consent and the release of information has been obtained from the appropriate individual, the role of the foster or kinship provider can be determined through conversation between the child welfare caseworker and the screening entity. For example, it may be appropriate to involve both the biological parent and foster or kinship provider in the screening and/or evaluation of the child. In addition, if a foster or kinship provider has not presented the child for scheduled screening and/or evaluation activities, the child welfare caseworker should be contacted to determine next steps.
When a parent has declined to consent for either screening and/or evaluation, and a foster/kinship provider has a concern about the child’s development, the child welfare caseworker should be notified. The child welfare caseworker can then talk to his/her supervisor to determine next steps, such as talking with the parent(s) about their decision not to consent, notifying the court, and/or exploring the need for the court to appoint an educational surrogate.
In certain circumstances, the foster or kinship provider may be able to sign consents for screening and/or evaluation. For more information, see question: Who is authorized to sign consents for developmental screening and evaluations?
A: After the referral for a developmental screening is made to a Community Centered Board (CCB) for a child birth through age two, the CCB is required to send a referral status update form to the referral source to let them know the referral was received and to provide service coordinator contact information. With parental consent for release of information, additional information can be sent such as results of the screening and/or evaluation.
When a referral for a developmental screening is made to any other agency (doctor, AU Child Find, etc.), then it depends on that agency’s policies and processes whether the child welfare caseworker can expect to receive a status of the referral. To help in the process, the child welfare caseworker should have the family complete release of information forms and follow-up with both the family and the agency to discuss completion of the screening and next steps.
A: Once a referral is received by the Community Centered Board (CCB) or AU Child Find, the agency must notify the other of the referral within three business days, the CCB must assign a service coordinator to the family within three business days, and contact the family as soon as possible, but no longer than seven calendar days, to introduce them to the EI program and schedule a screening or evaluation to occur within 45 days of referral.
The service coordinator will send a referral status update form to the referral source to let them know the referral was received and provide service coordinator contact information. With parental consent, additional information can be sent to the referral source such as results of the screening and/or evaluation.
A: There is no specific agency or program universally tasked with conducting developmental screening of children from the child welfare system, so programs to which referrals are made will follow their own guidelines and requirements.
Referrals of children age three through four for developmental screening will be handled dependent on program guidelines, resources, and requirements of the various programs to which the child is referred.
Child welfare administrators are encouraged to develop relationships with local program personnel to which child welfare caseworkers will refer so that they will be familiar with the specific programs in their community, including the timelines, resources, and program requirements that may have a bearing on the provision of developmental screening.
A: When a referral is appropriately made to AU Child Find for a child aged 3 or older (See question: When is it appropriate to refer to the AU Child Find?), the AU Child Find team will handle the referral as defined in the AU’s specific procedures. Some AUs may conduct screening prior to determining if the referral warrants an evaluation for special education, other AUs may begin the process with an evaluation. Child welfare caseworkers may receive child-specific information with written release of information from the parent.
A: A multi-disciplinary evaluation and assessment is conducted by two or more qualified personnel from different disciplines and looks at all areas of development including:
Based on the information gathered through a multidisciplinary evaluation, a child is determined eligible for early intervention services if s/he is exhibiting a delay of 25% or greater in at least one area of development. Multi-disciplinary evaluations for children, birth through age two, are generally conducted by AU Child Find Teams.
A: Children three years or older referred for special education services receive an evaluation to determine if they are a child with an educational disability as defined by the state, and the nature and extent of the special education and related services the child needs. If a Part B evaluation is necessary, it is the responsibility of the local AU Child Find to receive and respond to evaluation requests.
A: As defined by federal law, there are fifteen early intervention services that the EI Colorado Program can fund for a child who has been determined eligible through the evaluation process.
A: Child find refers to the activities performed through local education agencies to locate, identify, and evaluate children who may be in need of special education services. Child find is not a program; it is a process carried out by local AU Child Find teams to identify children eligible for special education services.
Children aged 3 and older determined eligible for special education services typically receive a general education preschool experience along with specially designed instruction from a special educator or speech language therapist to support the child to receive reasonable benefit from general education. Some children found eligible for special education services may also need related support services, such as transportation, developmental, corrective, or other support services, to assist a child with a disability to benefit from general education.
Preschool aged children who are not suspected to need special education services, who have a past or present experience of child abuse and/or neglect, and/or who are in foster care may be considered by local school districts for state funded preschool from the Colorado Preschool Program.
If you have questions or wish to request training or technical assistance related to developmental screening, please contact one of the following people:
In Colorado there are two distinct requirements related to developmental screening and children involved with the child welfare system:
County departments of human/social services, with supervision by Colorado Department of Human Services, are responsible for referring children ages birth through age four for developmental screening when abuse or neglect is founded.
For children age birth through two, the local Community Centered Board is responsible for responding to CAPTA referrals from child welfare for developmental screening and the local Special Education Administrative Unit is responsible for conducting screening and/or evaluation to determine if a child is eligible for early intervention services through the Part C system. Statutory compliance of the Part C system in Colorado is assured through the CDHS Office of Early Childhood.
For children ages three through four, there is no one agency or system responsible for responding to referrals from child welfare for developmental screening.
This Developmental Screening Educational Tool was developed by the CAPTA Work Group. This group is an inter-disciplinary team of subject matter experts that was developed as a partnership between the CDHS Office of Early Childhood and Office of Children, Youth & Families. Experts throughout Colorado were recruited to assist with developing frequently asked questions, as well as soliciting feedback from groups and individuals who work within the education, early intervention, health, and child welfare systems.
CAPTA Work Group Members include:
County departments of human/social services
CAPTA Administrator, Division of Child Welfare
Early Intervention Colorado
Program Initiatives Manager, Early Intervention Colorado
Infant mental health providers
Rocky Mountain Human Services and Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health
Primary care providers
Executive Director, Assuring Better Child Health & Development
Special education or child find
Consultant, State Child Find Coordinator, Exceptional Student Services
Women’s substance use treatment providers
Strong Start for Families