Integrated Early Childhood Behavioral Health in Primary Care

pp 71-83


Healthy Steps for Young Children: Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary Care for Young Children and their Families

  • Margot Kaplan-SanoffAffiliated withHealthy Steps, Zero to Three Email author 
  • , Rahil D. BriggsAffiliated withMontefiore Health System

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Pediatric clinicians have been tasked by the American Academy of Pediatrics with increasing their attention to the psychosocial determinants of health for early childhood, including the prevention and treatment of toxic stress. To help practices as they struggle to design a comprehensive response to this call, this chapter presents the Healthy Steps program, a flexible model of integrated primary pediatric care that has been adapting to change in healthcare and reimbursement practices and policies since its inception in 1994. Currently operating in over 80 sites nationwide, Healthy Steps expands the model of a solo pediatric clinician to include a new member of the healthcare team—the Healthy Steps Specialist—who enhances the information and services available to parents by providing specific information about the child’s behavior and development, by discussing the family’s adjustment to caring for their new baby, and by conducting screening and intervention related to the additional psychosocial needs of the child and/or family.


Healthy Steps Pediatric care Behavioral health