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Vision: All families have equitable access to developmental screenings supported by services that respond to each child’s needs as they learn, grow and achieve their full potential.

A Universal Developmental Screening (UDS) Partnership Committee was convened by the Washington State Department of Health in December 2009 to unify efforts in the state.

The effort is supported by over 100 committed parents and professionals including key stakeholders from public and private agencies, representation from local health, physicians, the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP), and leaders in early learning.  These multiple partners across the state continue to work toward increasing early childhood developmental screening and access to needed services.

In the fall of 2014, the partnership formalized its relationship with the state affiliate of Help Me Grow National and was reorganized into Help Me Grow Washington: The unified initiative of the Universal Developmental Screening Partnership (HMG WA). This work is supported by communication and backbone supports provided by the Department of Health, WithinReach, and a variety of partners.

Many activities are happening throughout Washington State to promote early childhood developmental screening and connection to needed supports and services.  Please learn about some of them in the quarterly E-updates and the Common Agenda.

Core Documents

Current Efforts

Leadership and Action Teams:

The Partnership’s Focus & Momentum Team oversees the strategic efforts of the Partnership, implements cross-cutting strategies, tracks progress and champions broad change.

Action Teams composed of parents, physicians, child care providers, administrators and others meet monthly to implement our five strategies:

  • Provider Education & Training – Support training, screening, early detection and intervention by providing outreach and training to child health care & early learning providers (ties to 1st national HMG core component).
  • *Community Outreach & Promotion – Reach all children and families with screening by raising awareness (ties to 2nd national HMG core component).*
  • Centralized Access Network – Provide screening, responsive services and care coordination by promoting and building the system of access (ties to 3rd national HMG core component).
  • Data Collection & Analysis – Strengthen systems and connections by collecting and analyzing data and identify gaps and barriers (ties to 4th national HMG core component).
  • Policy and Public Funding – Improve public policy and funding for screening and services by advancing policy and funding agendas.

*This action team is on hold pending work in other action teams.

Shared Measures (Success Measures) 

The partnership has adopted a few measures tied to the Common Agenda.  These ‘north stars’ drive the action of the partners and supporters and help determine the success of our efforts.


The partnership has convened about a dozen ‘data partners’ with access to the most useful current data to take the next steps to create the processes that will help establish baselines and regularly compile and report on the shared measures.

In addition, an UDS Executive Leadership Team is meeting to explore the potential for a data system to meet the needs of a unified effort on developmental screening.

Related Efforts

Developmental Screening Access

  • Physician reimbursement – The Washington State legislature passed a bill requiring the Health Care Authority to provide payment for Bright Futures recommended developmental and autism screening.
    • Great MINDS trainings on implementing developmental screening and connecting to services for medical providers through the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • HMG WA at Within Reach provides developmental screening with the Ages and Stages questionnaire, family follow-up and connection to services
  • Yakima Children’s Village provides access to developmental screening with the Ages and Stages questionnaire for children in Yakima County
  • OtherSee the e-updates and common agenda for additional screening efforts – there are many including public health department and early learning connections!


The LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) II grant is federal grant to DOH promoting wellness of young children birth to 8 years of age.  The grant will do this by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of their development, including increasing access to developmental and behavioral screening and referral to appropriate services.  Through Early Achievers, this grant will fund workforce development and training of child care providers in Chelan/Douglas, Benton/Franklin, and North Thurston Counties. (Fact sheet)

Baby Steps

Developing interactive technology for parents from diverse backgrounds to track children’s developmental progress

Great LINCS Grant

Strengthening care coordination across the state for children with special health care needs and their families by increasing statewide resources, reaching out to community partners, Medicaid providers and pediatric primary care physicians.  A main focus of the grant is to increase referral services provided through the Family Health Hotline at Within Reach and increase the efficiency of care coordination. (Fact sheet)

Pediatric Practice Transformation Grant

A federal CMS Innovation grant providing strategies and resources to support pediatric and behavioral health clinicians in transforming care delivery to a patient-centered medical home model.   (Fact sheet)

Additional Washington State UDS Websites

You can find information about UDS and related initiatives at:


Washington is a diverse state with multiple complex systems and initiatives promoting children’s health & development and school readiness. Early childhood developmental screening is recommended in medical practices, on home visits and in preschool programs, such as Early Head Start and Head Start. For children with concerns or needs, there may be an array of services and supports in any given county.

However, there is often a lack of coordination between services and programs involved with children and families in the early years of life. The UDS Partnership Committee convened to create a shared vision and a strategic framework for a system for universal developmental screening in Washington State. In the health care setting, developmental screening is a recommended element of well child care. It is also a key strategy in early learning and is in both the Washington State Early Learning Plan and the Birth to Three recommendations presented to the Washington State Legislature by the Department of Early Learning.

In December 2009, June 2010 and June 2011, a group of key state level stakeholders from public and private agencies, representation from local health, parents, physicians, the Washington Chapter of the AAP, and leaders in early learning gathered to provide input into the framework, create a vision, and outlined areas to develop. These partners (the UDS Partnership Committee) continue working together to explore and refine components of the plan.

In the fall of 2014, the partnership formalized its relationship with the state affiliate of Help Me Grow National and was reorganized into Help Me Grow Washington: The unified initiative of the Universal Developmental Screening Partnership (HMG WA).  The partnership group will next meet on December 9, 2015 in coordination with the LAUNCH Expansion Grant.

Assumptions for the UDS System

UDS Definition
The UDS system ensures that all children have opportunity and access to developmental screening consistent with nationally accepted pediatric guidelines. Screening will be voluntary, respecting parental/guardian choice. UDS system elements include (but are not limited to):

      • The system meets people where they are;
      • The system is continuous;
      • Screening systems must coordinate with other systems;
      • The system will reach all populations and be culturally relevant;
      • Screening will be of equal quality across geographic, economic, and cultural strata.

Assumptions, Aspirations, and Future Decisions

Achieving universal developmental screening is ambitious, but achievable. The initial UDS system will be based on what is practical and feasible in the current landscape. The UDS system will build off of existing efforts, acknowledging that it is more efficient to build capacity of existing programs that support a UDS system than to start from scratch. The system will capitalize on strategic opportunities as they arise. Implementation decisions will be made as the system rolls out, making every attempt to adhere to the long term vision of ensuring developmental screening and linkages to appropriate health services for all young children in Washington State.

Implementation Assumptions
Key initial elements will likely include:

      • An initial focus on birth to 3 years
      • Many “providers” will be involved in the UDS system, including medical and other health providers, childcare and other early childhood providers, etc.
      • There will be no wrong door for developmental screening information. Families will have access and links to screening information and tools through a variety of providers (e.g. primary care offices, medical home, early childhood providers, home visitors)
      • Families will be able to access screening tools through a variety of methods (examples might include: online, provider office, library computer, public kiosks, phone, cell phone, etc.)
      • Screening tools will be standardized and available electronically through a variety of methods, including via technology that may not yet be available
      • Screening tools will be age-appropriate and fit the needs of a variety of programs
      • Monitoring and Evaluation will track process changes, system changes, and outcomes changes. The M&E plan will address barriers to system access and follow-up care (e.g. cultural barriers, referral barriers, provider barriers)

At full implementation, the UDS system aspires to:

        • Make available developmental screening to all children birth to 8 years;
        • Make available a broader width of screening services (e.g. maternal depression, autism);
        • Be adaptable to future health reforms and technological advances.

      • Ensure the availability of resources and infrastructure in all communities to support the healthy development of children for whom a developmental delay has been identified.

Universal Developmental Screening (UDS) materials

Screening requirements in Washington State.
Universal Developmental Screening Partnership E-Updates.

For further information: Contact Washington State Medical Home Partnerships Project staff at