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Delaware's Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative Overview

We must invest in early interventions services for young children to promote overall health and wellness. Early brain development research shows that early learning is the foundation for school readiness. And, the earliest relationships set the stage for healthy development and learning. What we do for our children from birth to age five is the most important phase of their development.

School readiness involves all aspects of a child’s development: health, mental health, cultural identity, general knowledge, language, motivation and enthusiasm for learning. In 2003, Delaware launched a statewide effort to focus on developing, implementing and sustaining comprehensive early childhood programs through collaborative partnerships and multi-agency systems building initiatives. The ECCS program strives to better coordinate the comprehensive early child serving systems and create a system that is well integrated and will connect Delaware families to needed services.

ECCS will do this by addressing five core components:

Access to Medical Homes

  • Access to family-centered practices providing comprehensive physical and child development services for all children including Children with Special Health Care Needs.
  • Access to family-centered practices providing assessment, intervention and referral of children with developmental, behavioral or psycho-socio problems.

Mental Health and Social-Emotional Development

  • Availability of services to address the needs of children at-risk for the development of mental health problems.
  • Service delivery pathways to facilitate entrance of at-risk children into appropriate child serving systems of care.

Early Care and Education Services

  • Early care and education services from birth through five years of age that support children’s early learning, health and development of social competence.

Parent Education

  • Services that provide support to parents in their role as prime educators of their children.

Family Support

  • Services to address the stressors that impair parents/families development, knowledge and access to early child serving systems and resources that enable them to nurture and support the healthy development of their children.