January 15, 2019

Healthy Child screenings

Another successful Healthy Child Screening (HCS) took place in Toronto’s east end in 2015. The screenings took place at Secord Elementary School, George Webster Elementary School and Crescent Town Elementary School.  120 children were screened!

The purpose of the HCS is to enhance healthy early childhood development as children prepare to enter the school system.  The HCS also supports parents to address early childhood developmental issues, increase their knowledge of programs and services available to support their children, and to support a parent’s coping skills and ability to manage stress if a developmental issue is identified for their child.

At each HCS, children and their parents (or guardians) visit a series of `health screening stations’ and meet with trained professionals (called Screeners) including nurses, dental hygienists, social workers, settlement workers, etc. This year, we were able to offer 8 different health stations that included: Vision, Dental, Hearing, Nutrition, Physical, Speech & Language, Settlement and Social/Emotional.

The Screeners ask age appropriate questions and provide information regarding each child’s specific needs regarding significant health issues.  Children visit each station with a Healthy Child Screening ‘Passport’, and receive a sticker at each station.  When children need a break, they can visit the Children’s Activity Table. There is also a resource table where parents/guardians can learn about community resources.  Interpreters are also available during the events upon request.

After each HCS event, a follow-up worker contacts each parent/guardian to ensure that families connect with the appropriate resources and referrals that were suggested during the screenings.

The HCSs were initiated in 2008 at Crescent Town Elementary School, with 33 children being screened.  In 2009, the HCS was expanded to include two new partner schools – George Webster Elementary School and Secord Elementary School – with 78 children screened in total.  In 2010, we continued to increase our numbers with 100 child screened.

The HCSs are a great resource within the community, providing access to health care, and establishing connections to many other support agencies.

The HCI is possible because of the great partnerships Access Alliance has with Secord, George Webster and Crescent Town Elementary Schools, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, and East York East Toronto Family Resources..  Each of these partner agencies brings valuable experience and knowledge to the initiative so that it can continue to reach more children.

For more information about the Healthy Child Screening Initiative, please contact Krista Richards at krichards@accessalliance.ca.