While access to health and preventive care has improved in Arkansas, the state still ranks low in overall child health, according to the 2017 Kids Count Data Book, and many children still lack access to the key developmental screenings and treatment they need. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families partnered with the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to publish a report on how early childhood developmental screenings will help Arkansas children: Childhood Screenings: Improving Access to Early Identification, Referrals, and Linkages to Services.
Research has shown that 85 percent of a child’s core brain development occurs by age three. This makes early screenings for children critical to their long-term success to ensure they are hitting important milestones in their growth and development. In fact, studies have shown that early detection and prevention services can help children be more successful in school and as adults.
The report outlines the types of early screenings available, the services available to children and the barriers Arkansas children face when attempting to access these resources. The report also offers policy recommendations to improve access to these services for all children. As Arkansas continues to work on health care reform, strategies that improve access to early identification and prevention services for young children should be a key part of those discussions.