From 2018-2019, Cardea partnered with the Developmental Disabilities and Early Childhood Supports (DDECS) Division of King County and WithinReach on a participatory landscape analysis. This work was funded through the Best Starts for Kids levy, an initiative that builds on strengths of communities and families so babies are born healthy, more children thrive and establish a strong foundation for life, and more young people grow into thriving members of their community.
The landscape analysis aimed to better understand successes, gaps, and disparities around developmental screening, referral, and connection to services.
Engaging the community at the center of this work was critical. This ensured ideas for improving systems were rooted in the community. To achieve this, the Landscape Analysis used the following approaches:
- Community Expert Council
- Key Informant Interviews
- Focus Groups and Community Forums
- Community Survey
- Community and Public Sector Discussions
Six key findings emerged as a result of this work. They will be used to guide King County’s ongoing efforts around access to developmental screening, referral, and connection to services for all families living in King County:
- Many providers are screening using evidence-based tools despite varied screening practices
- Family-centered, culturally, and linguistically relevant tools and services are needed
- Referral and follow-up practices are not as strong as screening practices
- Stronger cross-sector coordination is desired – particularly between health and education
- More coordinated access to clear resources and supports would be welcomed by families and providers
- Increased access to inclusive spaces benefits everyone and reduces stigma