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Developmental Screening: A Statewide Priority


In his foreword to the Delaware Early Childhood Strategic Plan, Governor Markell states “We are in the middle of a great story about giving our state’s children a great start in school and in life.” “It takes more than education to help kids be ready for school—they also need good health care; appropriate social and emotional development opportunities; and strong support from their families and communities. Our state must continue to link these elements together to set each child up on a course toward lifelong success. When it comes to this endeavor, the evidence is irrefutable, the path forward is clear, and the stakes are profoundly important. In this plan are the areas that we’ve collectively chosen as significant priorities in the coming years.” Two of these priorities are:

Strategy 1: Increase developmental screening of young children

  • Healthcare providers, home visitors, and early childhood providers will use standardized
    developmental screening (i.e., PEDS or ASQ) for all young children to identify developmental delays,
    disabilities, and behavioral health concerns.
  • Increase referrals to Help Me Grow/211, Child Find/Child Development Watch, and other programs.
  • 25,000 children will be screened each year with appropriate referral and follow-up services.

Strategy 2: Expand capacity for referrals and follow-up services

  • Expand comprehensive evaluations through Early Intervention.
  • Link families to services through Help Me Grow/211 and Health Ambassadors.
  • Coordinate referrals with the child’s medical home.
  • Help physicians engage families as partners.

A Call to Action for Healthcare Providers

The Delaware Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other professional associations call on all child-serving practices and clinics to conduct developmental screening at appropriate ages. The Standardized PEDS screening approach is the recommended method for the health care setting in Delaware. All participating providers will be listed in the interactive directory shared with the public and hosted on this website. If you currently offer PEDS screening, please email us to ensure your inclusion in the directory.

Help for Providers

The following resources are available to providers to help with the implementation of PEDS developmental screening protocols in their practices. If you are interested in signing up for the PEDS tool, you will need to sign up and complete training from the AAP before you can actively use the PEDS tool with your patients.

PEDS Clinical Overview

PEDS (the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status) is a quick and easy test for parents’ to take to answer questions about their child’s development. PEDS is an evidence-based method for detecting and addressing developmental and behavioral problems in children. The test is comprised of simple questions and can make a big difference for a child. Tell your families about the importance of developmental screenings and encourage them to take the PEDS test before their next visit. You can share these materials with your families to help them learn more about PEDS.

Why should you implement PEDS?

  1. It Saves Time
  2. It Ensures Audit Documentation
  3. It Increases Clinic Revenues
  4. It Improves Quality of Care
  5. It Provides Training Support

The PEDS approach was implemented in Delaware in 2012. Collaboration efforts between the Delaware Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Nemours Health and Prevention Services, and DPH's Bureau of Maternal and Child Health to increase validated developmental screening brought PEDS implementation to DE.

Training from the AAP needs to happen before you can actively use the PEDS tool.

Learn more about PEDS Online, when to use PEDS and ways to implement PEDS by visiting

PEDS Implementation Support

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is committed to assisting all practices and clinics in Delaware to implement developmental screening protocols using the PEDS approach. For specific information, to sign up for PEDS, for support with implementation and reimbursement, and for hands-on training, please email us at or call 302-224-5197.

Child Development Watch and Child Find

Child Development Watch is the statewide early intervention program for children ages birth to 3. The program's mission is to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays and to enhance the capacity of their families to meet the needs of their young children.

Information for Parents:
Child Development Watch is here to answer the question, "Is my child developing and learning like other children?" He or she may be growing and changing, yet may have difficulty hearing, seeing, talking, moving, or learning the way other children do. This is called a developmental delay. Child Development Watch therefore evaluates and coordinates services for children with suspected developmental delays.

Information for Professionals

You may see a child you suspect may have a developmental delay or disability. Child Development Watch is a coordinated, interagency program designed to meet the needs of those eligible. If the child is eligible for services, an Individualized Family Service Plan will be developed with information and input provided by you.

New Castle County 302-283-7140
FAX 302-283-7141
Kent/Sussex Counties 302-424-7300
FAX 302-422-1363
Toll Free Calls 302-752-9393

Child Find identifies children three and older in the school districts in need of special services such as concerns with developmental delays, speech or fine motor problems. The evaluations and treatment are of high quality, administered through school districts, and they are free for Delaware families.

Dial 2-1-1 for school districts/contact information.

Comparison of Child Development Watch and Child Find

Referral Directory

There are many service providers in Delaware who help families who have children with special developmental needs. PEDS Online is part of the new Help Me Grow initiative. Medical providers or parents wishing to learn more about PEDs Online or other medical, social or educational services available can call 211.


Click here to view the PEDS Online Clinician Referral Flow Chart for the state of Delaware.

Click here to access the referral intake form

Sign up for PEDS

Stay Informed. Share Your Commitment to Early Childhood Success

Over 3,000 Delaware families and health professionals are already engaged with us on Facebook, and many on Twitter as well. Please join the conversation, and share with your colleagues and followers. If you’d like, we will also send you e-news about important events and resources clinicians serving children in Delaware, sign up here.

For ideas on what to share about developmental milestones and developmental screening, visit our media sharing center.

A new report from the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network provides information to guide the development of children in Delaware.Learn More