Our Work

Mid-Level Developmental Assessment


Mid-Level Developmental Assessments (MLDA) provide an efficient assessment between initial screenings done by a pediatrician or other provider and a full evaluation by specialists that may take weeks to schedule and hours to complete. Because of this, MLDA can:

  • Optimize the screening process
  • Result in more timely and appropriate care
  • Lead to more efficient use of the scarce and expensive full-evaluation resources in Connecticut

Pilot Testing Mid-level Developmental Assessment in Connecticut

CHDI awarded grants to three child-serving organizations to pilot test MLDA in 2009, with funding from the Children's Fund of Connecticut's Innovation Grant Program. The results of the pilot studies were published in IMPACT: Mid-Level Developmental and Behavioral Assessments: Between Screening and Evaluation, and showed:

  • Fewer than 20 percent of children undergoing MLDA assessment required more extensive evaluations. 
  • Nearly all children referred on to more extensive evaluations qualified for services with stringent eligibility criteria.
  • Eighty percent of children evaluated with MLDA could be enrolled immediately in various developmental promotion and mental health programs that were readily available.
  • MLDA cost data suggest that this approach can save an average of $540 per child, compared to use of full evaluation resources following screening. This represents a 42 percent cost savings relative to current assessment and evaluation costs.

Expanding MLDA in Connecticut and to Other States

After completing CHDI’s pilot study, The Village for Families and Children took MLDA a step further. In partnership with United Way 211 Child Development Infoline (CDI), (which serves as Connecticut’s Help Me Grow access point), The Village offers MLDA assessments when children are referred from CDI for developmental or behavioral concerns. Following each MLDA evaluation, CDI connects the child’s family to helpful intervention or further evaluation services if needed.

MLDA continued to expand with support of a two-year grant from the LEGO Community Fund U.S. by training organizations in Connecticut that perform Birth to Three and preschool special education evaluations to offer MLDA assessments.  CDI serves as the referral point to MLDA and Help Me Grow links families to services following assessment. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Help Me Grow National Center worked with Florida, Washington, Vermont and four counties in California to disseminate MLDA. These efforts are summarized in IMPACT: A Better Way to Assess Developmental Needs in Early Childhood Systems: Mid-Level Developmental Assessment.

Learn more about the importance of MLDA and how it can help families by watching The Village for Children and Families’ “Before Problems Escalate.” MLDA video.  

For information on how to schedule an MLDA appointment click here.