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The Healthy Child Programme review at age 2-2½ and ASQ-3

8th September 2014

The Department of health is writing to all health visiting leads in area teams to highlight the Government’s plans to introduce a public health outcome measure showing child development at age 2-2½ from April 2015 and the action that health visiting teams need to take to ensure they are well prepared.

The population measure will be included in the Public Health Outcomes Framework from April 2015. The Department has worked with key stakeholders to identify an appropriate assessment tool to generate data on child development and has decided that the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3™) will be used for the indicator, with ASQ:Social Emotional (ASQ:SE) to be incorporated at a later stage. This decision took into account the findings of research  (1) commissioned by the Department of Health and the timescales for the outcome measure. Further research looking at the acceptability of ASQ among parents and professionals will be published shortly.

Health visiting teams will therefore need to be using ASQ-3™ as part of their Healthy Child Programme reviews at age 2-2½ from 2015. This is reflected in the NHS England health visiting service specification 2014-15.

The Department of Health is working with Health Education England and e-Learning for Healthcare to develop training materials to support health professionals using ASQ-3™ as part of HCP reviews at age 2-2½. The resource will include information on how the ASQ-3™ fits into the wider HCP review and the areas of child development covered by ASQ-3™, as well as best practice on scoring questionnaires and communicating with parents about ASQ-3™. The e-learning modules will be available later this summer.  

The Department is also working closely with the US authors and publishers of ASQ-3™ to develop a British English adaptation of ASQ-3™, which will be available from October 2014. Issues relating to licensing and the format of the British English materials are under discussion with the publishers. Further details will be published as the work moves forward over the coming months. Please contact Penny Crouzet at the Department of Health ([email protected]) for further information.

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