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KidSTART serves young children with complex developmental, mental health, medical and family needs.

Using a transdisciplinary approach to assessment and treatment, the program provides developmental and social-emotional/behavioral screenings to identify potential concerns, triage to determine level and complexity of need, assessment by a transdisciplinary team and referral & treatment to ensure that children and caregivers receive the services they need.

Why a Specialized Approach is Needed

  • Between 10-14 percent of young children in the general population and up to 61 percent of young children in foster care show signs of developmental delay.
  • Between 3-6 percent of young children in the general population and 25-40 percent of young children in foster care show signs of social-emotional concerns.
  • Early intervention services can have a significant positive impact on child outcomes. Unfortunately, various studies have shown that the rates of service use for young children are as low as 3-40 percent.
  • Intensive care coordination is integral to KidSTART’s success. Service navigation is particularly challenging for children who have complex needs in multiple areas, which requires multiple services that are not typically integrated. Recent policy recommendations address this challenge by calling for a range of comprehensive physical, mental, emotional, developmental, and family assessments, reassessments, and services that address the needs of families with infants and toddlers.

Program Components

Screening: The Developmental Screening & Enhancement Program, First 5 Healthy Development Services and other partner agencies throughout the community use standardized screening tools to identify potential developmental and social-emotional/behavioral needs for children under age 6.

Triage: During this process to determine eligibility, a licensed psychologist completes a comprehensive global developmental evaluation, and when indicated, the psychologist collaborates with a pediatrician to review all available information about a child’s history and needs, including a review of existing reports and contacting other service providers who have worked with the child. This information is used to determine whether the child is eligible for further KidSTART services based on their degree of complexity. Children who are not eligible for further KidSTART services are referred to other community providers for less intensive services.

Assessment: For children who are eligible to continue with the program, a trans-disciplinary team of clinicians assesses the child then collaborates to determine diagnoses, needs and appropriate intervention services. This includes a home-based assessment completed by a care coordinator, who uses standardized measures and a social-work approach to determine strengths and needs of the child and family. The team of providers, known as the integrated clinical team (ICT), partners with the family through a structured Family ICT meeting to develop the child’s care plan.

Referral: A KidSTART care coordinator partners with each family to make referrals and ensure that recommended services are received by helping them overcome barriers to service. This may include attending appointments with family, providing weekly phone calls or home visits to encourage engagement, or facilitating the exchange of information between providers. For families needing extra support to overcome practical barriers to service, such as transportation or housing needs, KidSTART can assign a “family partner” to work with the caregivers on these basic needs.

Treatment: KidSTART offers an array of evidence-based developmental and mental health treatment. Interventions include:o Individual speech, behavioral, occupational, and physical therapy

  • Classes such as Hanen’s “It Takes Two to Talk,” the “Alert!” sensory regulation class, and infant massage
  • Mental health treatment such as parent-child Interaction therapy, parent-child attunement therapy, child-parent psychotherapy, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychiatric evaluations and medication management when needed

Contact Us

If you are interested in referring a child for KidSTART services or would like to learn more about KidSTART, please call 858-966-5990.