Sprouts Child Development Initiative began in 1991 as the LINK Project, a developmental screening program administered through Children’s Medical Center in Tulsa. LINK’s primary goal was to identify children in child care who might need early intervention services to address specific developmental concerns before they entered school. In 2006, LINK moved under the umbrella of the Community Service Council (CSC) as a part of its Child Care Resource Center. LINK became integrated with the Center’s efforts to increase quality care in numerous child care centers serving children from primarily low income households.
During the next several years LINK became so successful in identifying needs and connecting families to help that demand for its services grew quickly. There was a three-year waiting list for centers, physicians’ referrals increased, and requests from schools and other early childhood programs were rising dramatically.
Clearly a new model with greater capacity to reach more young children and their caregivers was needed. In 2014, the LINK team of developmental clinicians, along with Community Service Council early childhood staff, several pediatricians and other community partners began looking for this new approach. After a few months of discussion and a national search one was found. Modeled after a successful program in Michigan, the Sprouts Child Development Initiative was created.
The Initiative is based on a child development resource website built around an online developmental screening tool, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The site expands the capacity to engage caregivers in learning themselves about the developmental needs of their young children, and the specific steps to address them. This includes conducting a screening using the ASQ, and contacting the Sprouts developmental team to assist in identifying developmental issues and obtaining follow-up assistance.
Sprouts also includes new strategies to connect with, and support a growing network of community partners to collectively expand access to early screening and early intervention.
In 2016, to best focus on organizing this enhanced capacity, the Sprouts Child Development Initiative moved from under the umbrella of the Community Service Council and became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Sprouts continues to partner closely with CSC in advancing common objectives for improving early childhood outcomes, and is grateful for its critical and timely long term support.
Sprouts looks forward to being a community leader and partner in improving the health, development and well-being of children in the Tulsa area and throughout the state.