Smart Start of Mecklenburg County along with a collaboration of Anson and Union Counties applied for a Race to the Top Challenge Grant, a federal funded initiative via the Early Learning Challenge. These funds will be applied to the implementation of Assuring Better Health and Development (ABCD) Model, which is a proven, universal approach to screening young children in primary health care settings.
Smart Start will contract with the Community Care Partners of Greater Mecklenburg to provide an ABCD Coordinator who will serve identified medical practices in Anson, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties. The ABCD Coordinator will assist medical providers to integrate routine developmental screening into their patient care process, use validated screening tools, talk with parents about developmental concerns, and most importantly, help provide linkages to community resources so when screening reveal potential issues, the medical professional can refer to follow-up services.
ABCD works to increase health and development screening and referral rates for all children with the medical home by integrating routine developmental screening into well-child visits, using either Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) or the Parents Evaluation of Developmental Skills (PEDS). Medical professionals are also taught to use the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT) and refer children needing follow-up to appropriate community services.