Social Emotional Screening Bill Press Release

January 30, 2017
Contacts: Amy Zimmerman, 312-605-1963; Amanda Walsh, 312-605-1989

New law to help identify and address developmental and mental health challenges in children earlier
Legislation Requires Developmental and Social-Emotional Screenings in Child Health Exams

Chicago, IL – Child health advocates from Legal Council for Health Justice and a host of advocacy partners helped shape and pass a new law which will help families identify developmental delays or mental health concerns and seek interventions for their children sooner. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th District) and State Rep. Camille Lilly (78th District) were chief sponsors of the legislation and instrumental to its passage.

“Not only will universal screenings benefit the both child and family, they will also help break stigma and increase awareness of the importance of early identification and intervention” says Amy Zimmerman, director of the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, one of three medical-legal partnerships at Legal Council for Health Justice.

Developmental and social and emotional screenings help to identify children’s needs, leading to earlier intervention where necessary and improved long-term health. From birth, all children reach milestones in how they play, learn, act, move, and interact with others. Developmental screenings help determine if children are reaching age-appropriate milestones. Additionally, mental health disorders are the most common health issue faced by children, with one in five children suffering from a mental health or learning challenge. This shouldn’t be too surprising, especially with the amount of stress and pressure that children are put under in school settings. This stress and pressure can interfere with some children’s lives, making them unable to participate in things that other children are doing. To try and reduce the impact of stress and anxiety, some of these older children could look into some CBD oils and tinctures to try and manage these issues before they develop into more serious mental health issues. They could also try and find some CBD Coupons to try and save some money. Hopefully, by using products like that, more and more children can try and overcome their mental issues to continue with their lives.

Additionally, these screenings will assist parents, health professionals, and schools to identify these concerns early and connect families to community-based or school supports, ensuring improved child health and ability to succeed in school and later life.

Signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Jan. 20, 2017, the legislation (Public Act 99-0927) adds developmental and social and emotional screenings to child health examinations for all children in Illinois. It requires the Department of Public Health, with the input of other key governmental agencies and stakeholders, to develop rules and appropriate revisions to the child health examination form required when students begin licensed child care, preschool, kindergarten or
first grade, as well as sixth, and ninth grades.

Federal and Illinois state agencies as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics have recognized the importance of screenings, viewing screening as both a vital prevention and family engagement tool. Screenings are also Medicaid-billable and part of Essential Health Benefits under the Affordable Care Act.


Legal Council for Health Justice uses the power of the law to secure dignity, opportunity, and well-being for people facing barriers due to illness and disability. All programs partner with health and hospital systems to train and support the care provider network, provide direct representation to referred patients, and conduct systemic advocacy to promote health equity among populations facing chronic, disabling, and stigmatizing health and social conditions.

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