Parent Education & Support Network

Embedding child developmental screening into early childhood programming and primary care

Full Project Name:Parent Education & Support Network (PESN)Primary Community Organization:United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha CountyPrimary Academic Partner:John Meurer, MD, MBA, Institute for Health and EquityAward Amount:$300,000
Award Date
January2016
Project Duration:30 months

Project Description Narrative:


Milwaukee Succeeds, a communitywide collaborative effort to improve educational outcomes for children in Milwaukee, sought to embed developmental screening as a standard practice among primary health care and child care providers by facilitating improvements in training, efficiency, parental engagement, and cross-sector data sharing. Project partners set out to train child care and medical providers how to screen children using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), counsel families about developmental wellness, and refer for evaluation and treatment when concerns are raised.

Community partners:

SET, Inc., Children's Medical Group, Institute for Child and Family Well-Being, Milwaukee County Disability Services, MPS Head Start, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Children's Medical Group, Aurora Health Care, Children's Outing Association, LaCausa, YMCA, Milwaukee Children's Coalition for Mental Health, Ninjas for Health, Betty Brinn Children's Museum

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Surpassed targets by training 400 professionals to screen, counsel and refer children

• Implemented ASQ screening at two of the area's largest primary care providers (Children's Medical Group, Aurora Health Care), largest child care centers and Head Start programs (Next Door) in the Milwaukee area, along with dozens of other child care programs

• Incorporated universal ASQ screening in Milwaukee Public Schools early childhood classrooms

• Included developmental screening as priority in the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families' statewide YoungStar Quality Rating Improvement System

• Milwaukee Birth to Three has improved the referral process and referrals have increased 23% in 2015-17

• Project partners disseminated their approach statewide and leveraged over $75,000 in funding

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