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All children between the ages of 2 to 2 and a half years are offered a development review by health visitors. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) is used as part of the review to give an objective measure of development, allowing comparisons which help to identify children who are not progressing as expected and supporting decisions on closer monitoring of progress or the targeting of services. The ASQ-3 looks at:
how a child is developing emotionally and socially
The study worked with data from 3 local services and found that data from the ASQ-3 might be used nationally to create useful indicators for local areas. These indicators would allow local areas to compare how children are developing with populations in other parts of England and to consider the impact of local early years services on child development outcomes.
The data could also inform the targeting of services towards children with the greatest need by showing how children from different social groups have different outcomes. The method proposed is efficient as it is based on existing data collection and reporting. It offers the opportunity to increase understanding and the evidence-base for the relationship between outcomes in early and later life.