About ABCD

What is the ABCD Program?

ABCD State Map

The Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) Program is funded by the Commonwealth Fund, administered by NASHP, and designed to assist states in improving the delivery of early child development services for low-income children and their families by strengthening primary health care services and systems that support the healthy development of young children, ages 0-3. The program focuses particularly on preventive care of children whose health care is covered by state health care programs, especially Medicaid. Since 2000, the ABCD program has helped twenty-seven states create models of service delivery and financing through a laboratory for program development and innovation.

  • The first ABCD Consortium (ABCD I) was created in 2000 and provided grants to four states (NC, UT, VT, WA) to develop or expand service delivery and financing strategies aimed at enhancing healthy child development for low-income children and their families. The program concluded in 2003.
  • The ABCD II Initiative was launched in 2003 and ended in early 2007. It was designed to assist states in building the capacity of Medicaid programs to deliver care that supports children’s healthy mental development. The initiative funded the work of five states (CA, IL, IA, MN, UT).
  • The ABCD Screening Academy began in April 2007 and provided technical assistance to 21 states/territories (AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, KS, MD, MI, MN, MT, NJ, NM, OH, OK, OR, PR, VA, WI).  The ABCD Screening Academy’s primary focus was to increase use of a general developmental screening tool as a part of health supervision during well-child care provided by primary care providers who act as young children’s medical homes, as recommended by the AAP.
  • ABCD lll , which began in October 2009, will develop and test sustainable models for improving care coordination and linkages between pediatric primary care providers and other providers who support children’s healthy development.    Five states – Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Oregon – will develop lasting policy and systems improvements and practice improvements that build and strengthen linkages between primary care providers and other child and family service providers, thereby improving the quality of care for children with or at-risk of developmental delay.    NASHP will prepare a larger group of states to adopt/adapt successful policy and system changes.

This electronic resource center is continuously growing and includes tools and resources developed by all participating states as well as reports that NASHP developed during the initiatives and was created for states interested in improving the delivery of early child development services for low-income children and their families.


To learn about the legacy of the ABCD program from the states themselves please view The ABCD Legacy: In the Words of the States.
For states interested in staying involved in the ABCD III initiative please participate in the ABCD III listserv. The ABCD listserv will inform you of upcoming Technical Assistance (TA) events and keep participants abreast of new resources useful to ongoing care coordination and linkage efforts.  If you are interested in joining this listserv please email Felecia Heider at fheider@nashp.org.