Cutting-Edge Practice

Missouri Milestones Matter

State/Jurisdiction: Missouri
Setting: Clinical School
Population: Children Medical & Public Health Professionals
Topic Area: Health Screening Health Promotion & Communication
NPMs: NPM 6: Developmental Screening

The Missouri Milestones Matter (MMM) Program utilizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) health campaign materials within early childhood service systems to monitor children’s development and increase formal developmental screening in partnership with parents. The goal is to increase the knowledge and confidence, among families and early childhood practitioners, to implement developmental monitoring for children birth to five years old, which may empower parents to seek intervention earlier. This initiative is an extension of the nationally recognized Missouri DHSS, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Developmental Milestones Program. The goal of this program is to increase formal developmental screening for children birth to 5 years old by bolstering family and provider knowledge about appropriate developmental milestones and when to be concerned. Early childhood practitioners, in partnership with parents, use the LTSAE checklists to monitor development of children, age 2 months to 5 years. Additionally, providers encourage all families to seek a full developmental screening, using a validated tool, as defined in the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. Evidence has shown that developmental monitoring and screening are complementary and yield the greatest increase in the number of children who receive early intervention. Children missing more than 3 milestones are automatically referred for a full developmental screening to be administered by a pediatrician, a home visiting program, or a Missouri-specific online screening resource. MMM sites are integrating a variety of LTSAE materials into the culture of their program, while developing a standardized process to complete developmental monitoring checklists on all the children they serve.

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Implementation Handout

University of Missouri - Center for Excellence in CHILD Well-being
Julie Allen
Practice Website