Since 2000, the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and The Commonwealth Fund have conducted two state learning consortia dedicated to improving the delivery of child development services to young children who are Medicaid beneficiaries. The work of the states involved in the Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) initiative has shown that state policies, especially Medicaid policies, can effectively promote improvements in the quality of preventive and developmental services provided to young children. This report provides a starting point for states seeking to identify and implement policy improvements to achieve two main objectives:
• improve the identification of young children with or at risk for developmental delays through promoting use of an objective, standardized screening tool; and
• improve families’ access to follow-up services, including assessment, referral, and care coordination.
The policies that govern the operation of any state program can be divided into three groups – policies that define what services the program will cover for which people (coverage), those that establish how much the program will pay for a qualified service (reimbursement), and those that establish how services will be delivered (performance). State Policy Options to Improve Delivery of Child Development Services presents specific policy improvements that emerged from efforts of the eight ABCD states that can serve as models and inspiration for states interested in improving developmental services for young children.