Universal Developmental Screening — A Strong Start for Children

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Strong Start is a free and secure data system where parents, legal guardians, and health care providers can enter and access screening information in one place.

Photo of three diverse children playing together

What is universal developmental screening, and why is it important?

Developmental screening takes a closer look at how your child is developing. Your provider may observe your child and ask you questions, or you can complete a developmental screening questionnaire about your child. 

Regular screenings show how children are doing with language, movement, thinking, and interacting with others. It is important because the brain develops faster between birth and age 5 than any other stage. 

If your child needs more help with development, it is not always obvious to doctors, childcare providers, or parents. Developmental screenings help make sure any delay is found as early as possible and help parents and caregivers get the support they need to help their child thrive.

We can give every child a strong start when we monitor their development, celebrate their strengths, and act early when they need extra support.


My wife and I had a number of questions regarding our son’s development but did not know how to go about getting answers. Completing a developmental screening and being able to have a conversation with our son’s doctor about it was a real eye-opener.... Getting our son screened, talking with his doctor, and getting the assistance we needed has improved our lives dramatically.”

Daniel A., Thurston County

Why use Strong Start?

Strong Start lets parents, legal guardians, and providers:

  • easily store and share the screening information with each other
  • plan ways to best support a child’s development

It creates an opportunity for families, healthcare providers, and early learning partners to work together to help children thrive.

Strong Start:

  • Is FREE to use statewide
  • Tracks developmental screenings of children birth through age 5
  • Is safe, secure, and confidential
  • Creates a lifetime screening record that parents can share with health care providers and early learning partners

Sign Up for Strong Start!

Popular resources

  • Learn the Signs, Act Early (Centers for Disease Control)
    From birth to 5 years, children should reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move. This resource has free tools to help you track and celebrate your child’s milestones!

  • Conversation Roadmap (Brazelton Touchpoints Center)
    This resource helps providers talk with parents about their child’s development with 7 short and simple steps to actively engage caregivers in planning for their child’s developmental needs.

  • The Community Resources section on our Parents and Guardians webpage lists organizations that offer connections to other services and needed supports.   

A word about our partners

We developed Strong Start in collaboration with multiple state partners, including:

And with invaluable input from local health jurisdictions (LHJs), tribal partners, and parents and families from across the state. We are grateful to all and look forward to continuing collaboration!

Contact us

Questions? Reach us at strongstart@doh.wa.gov or call 833-887-0195 (toll-free; English and Spanish).