Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) program …

A child primary care physician is often the most-informed-and most trusted-health professional with whom the family has regular contact during the child first five years. The physician can be invaluable in helping to spot children with developmental delays.

The “ABCD” model was designed to identify and develop a set of best practices by which primary care physicians can identify children five or younger with developmental delays and arrange for early intervention.


Dr. Marian Earls addressing ABCD project directors at the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., in Raleigh, NC, November 2013.

The ABCD program began in early 2000 as a pilot effort in three North Carolina communities with support from the Commonwealth Fund.  Over time, the expansion of the ABCD program has made North Carolina a leader in effective early developmental screenings. Central to the success of the ABCD program is the commitment and leadership of Marian Earls, MD. A former Greensboro private-practice pediatrician and now the clinical director for the North Carolina Community Care Newtork, Dr. Earls has become the champion for the initiative at the state and national level.

Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. (SSFC) is expanding early childhood developmental screenings in a seven-county area, including Forsyth County. SSFC has been awarded almost $200,000 from the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., in Raleigh to implement an evidenced-based screening program for children birth to five years of age in cooperation with Northwest Community Care Network (NCCN) of Winston-Salem, and local pediatric practices throughout the seven-county region.

On October 28, Lucinda “Cindy” Green, an experienced health care professional and family practice manager, assumed the duties of coordinator for the project. Cindy can be reached at her offices with Northwest Community Care Network in Winston-Salem at (336) 716-8904, or


Kelly Garrison (far center), Quality Improvement Director for NCCN, addresses regional meeting on the importance of developmental screening in the success of cognitive, emotional, motor, and social development of the birth to five year old child at the Third Branch Cafe in Yadkinville, NC in July 2013.

Ms. Green and the ABCD program project will benefit from the support and guidance of a Regional Advisory Council covering the seven-county area of the project: Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin.

The project’s Regional Advisory Council currently includes:

  • Anna Miller-Filtzwater, MD, Wake Forest Health
  • Berta Andrade, Imprints, Inc.
  • Betty Mabe, Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA), Amos Cottage and Brenner Children’s Hospital
  • Bill Pless, MPA, Davidson Partnership for Children
  • Carolyn Choplin, Yadkin Partnership for Children
  • Dana Franklin, Care Coordination for Children (CC4C), NCCN
  • Dianne Durham, Stokes Partnership for Children
  • Doug Punger, JD, SSFC, Inc.
  • Emily Summey, Surry County Schools
  • Gina Taylor, Davie Partnership for Children
  • Jane Foy, MD, Wake Forest Health
  • Kathy Lowe, MSW, ACSW, CMSW, CSW-G, Translational Science Institute, Wake Forest University
  • Larry Vellani, MPA, SSFC, Inc., Chair
  • Mike Lawless, MD, SSFC, Inc.
  • Quintana Stewart, Forsyth County Department of Health

For more information about the ABCD program, visit

For a brief overview of pediatric screenings.

For a brief overview of pediatric screening for autism.

For a brief overview of post-screening, pediatric referrals.