Great Start Program

Family Support Network (FSN) has been providing free developmental screenings to children ages 0-5 throughout Orange County for more than 15 years. FSN’s Developmental Screening Program was created to give families, especially in low income, under-served areas and who may lack transportation, an opportunity to check on their child’s development to make sure they are on track. This comprehensive screening is truly unique in that it is hands on, utilizing licensed therapists and specialists covering the following areas: vision (Plusoptix vision screening device detects most prevalent vision disorders in children as early as the age of 5 months), hearing, fine and gross motor skills, speech and language, emotional/behavioral health, general health and dental. These mobile screenings are held throughout Orange County at places like FRC’s, Boys & Girls Clubs, community centers, and pre-schools giving parents and caregivers the opportunity to have a developmental screening they might not have had access to. FSN has a staff of Spanish and Vietnamese speaking translators as well as several bilingual therapist/specialists. Every family is given a copy of their child’s Developmental Screening results as well as any recommended referrals. Referrals are typically sent to places like Regional Center of Orange County, school districts, pediatricians, dental clinics and to our own Bilingual Mental Health Outreach Program.

FSN is expanding the program we currently have in place and will continue to serve children ages 0-5 through the developmental screenings, but have redefined it to include a more robust and comprehensive service that include Social-Emotional Wellness with Behavioral/ Mental Health in-home follow-up services by our MSW, a whole family model of Mental Health Services with a focus on Trauma-informed Care, and short-term crisis intervention such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and trauma-informed therapeutic support for parents with children diagnosed with special needs. Parents with special needs children often experience repeated stressful events in the form of ongoing medical tests and procedures, recurrent emergencies and frequent hospitalizations. The never-ending anxiety that comes from having a child with a chronic condition can be enough to trigger symptoms of PTSD. If left untreated, PTSD may affect the emotional and physical health of your child and other family members.

In addition to developmental screenings and behavioral health, another component of the program is, “Complex Care Management”, which is a set of activities designed to more effectively assist patients and their caregivers in managing medical conditions and co-occurring psychosocial factors. Most medical networks and governmentally provided programs provide a case management option for clients but do not guide the families or individuals outside of the constraints of the individual system. Youth with significant medical conditions and/or behavioral and/or mental health diagnosis have multiple layers of involvement with community resources, health provider agencies/networks, governmentally funded agencies and departments and health care providers. Little direction is given to families/youth outside of each agency independently. The goal of Family Support Network (FSN) is to provide case management that is complete and provides for connection and collaboration between healthcare sectors and community agencies to provide a person-centered or whole-person approach to care.