Clayton County participates in the following statewide programs to support children with special needs and their families.
Anyone can refer children to the following special needs programs, whether you are a parent, physician, teacher, social worker or childcare provider. Complete this referral form, then send it to Clayton County Health District via:
Questions? Call 678.610.7259.
Children 1st is the first step needed for children and families to access Clayton County programs that screen for and assist with developmental delays. Children 1st is the point of entry for all patients participating in our Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program, Babies Can’t Wait and Children’s Medical Services.
Children 1st helps by providing developmental screening and a family needs assessment before referring children to our community-based programs and resources. If children are accepted into Children 1st before they are five years old, they may be able to receive the care they need from some of our other programs until they are 21.
Some children are at greater risk for developmental delay due to medical conditions or environmental factors. These may include:
- very low birth weight
- cleft palate
- speech or language disorder
- lack of housing
- insufficient prenatal care
- unemployed parent
- incarcerated parent
- parent under 18
If you have concerns about a child’s growth, click here to track expected developmental milestones in early childhood.
Children 1st services are provided FREE to families. To participate in Children 1st , the child must be under five years old and either have or be at risk for developmental delays.
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program screens newborns before they leave the hospital, which is essential for the earliest possible identification of hearing loss. Without newborn screening, hearing loss is not typically identified until the child is two years old. The sooner you act, the better the outcome.
A child’s first year is the most crucial period for language development. Early screening for hearing loss ensures early treatment, providing sound stimulation for your baby’s brain and aiding with the development of language and communication, as well as education and reading potential.
This program offers:
- Screening for hearing loss in birthing hospital
- Referral for rescreening
- Referral for diagnostic audiological evaluation
- Connection to appropriate hearing-loss intervention program
- Technical assistance and training for health care providers
If you have concerns about your baby’s hearing, contact our EHDI Coordinator.
If your baby is 3 months old or younger and has not already received 2 hearing screens, please call the number below for assistance.
If your baby is over 3 months old or has been screened 2 times, our program will refer you to a local audiologist.
For more information, call 678.610.7362.
Babies Can’t Wait
The Babies Can’t Wait program serves children under 3 years old who have special needs, developmental delays or chronic health conditions. We provide screening for developmental concerns, in which we can evaluate physical and cognitive health, motor skills, communication, social/emotional growth and adaptive development.
A child’s brain develops most rapidly during their first 3 years, so it is a critical period for detecting developmental delays before they become barriers to healthy development. One in six children in the United States has developmental disabilities and even more experience delays in language and cognition. These conditions require extra intervention to support the child’s growth and prepare them for success in school.
When it comes to addressing developmental delays, Babies Can’t Wait takes a multi-disciplinary approach. We work with physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, special instructors and service coordinators to improve the child’s development potential and meet the family’s needs.
Referred clients are assigned a service coordinator, who supports families with intervention services, training, resources and referrals in the community. In the Babies Can’t Wait program, care usually takes place in the home environment but can be arranged to suit the client’s needs. This program offers:
- Evaluations and assessments (provided for free)
- Personal Service Coordinator (provided for free)
- Child development plans
- Referrals for:
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
- Speech/language therapy
- Social work/counseling
- Behavioral intervention
This program serves babies 0-36 months (under 3 years) with developmental delays and/or certain diagnosed conditions that have a high probability of resulting in delays (such as blindness, Down syndrome, autism and spina bifida).
Evaluations and service coordination are provided FREE to referred clients, and all other services have a sliding scale fee based on need. Participants are eligible to receive early intervention services regardless of income.
For more information, please contact the Babies Can’t Wait Coordinator or call 678.610.7252.
Children’s Medical Services
The Children’s Medical Services program coordinates access to affordable, quality care. If your child, age 0-21, is in need of specialty services due to chronic medical conditions, we will be there through every step of their health care journey.
Clayton County offers a supportive, family-focused and culturally caring approach. Our goal is to provide families with options, helping you navigate the comprehensive system of services and resources for special needs. The program offers information and advice to help families determine how much assistance a child needs as they transition to adulthood. Some will be encouraged to be independent and responsible for their own care and others will need guardianship or other supports with decision making.
Children’s Medical Services offers support to help the family manage the child’s specialty appointments. We also work with their primary and specialty medical specialists to provide or coordinate for:
- Genetic counseling
- Inpatient/outpatient hospitalization
- Durable medical equipment
- Medications and supplies
- Diagnostic testing
Click here to learn more about our Children’s Medical Services program.
Children’s Medical Services connects you to resources throughout the community. Some of our services include:
- Screening and referrals to specialty care
- Referrals to health coverage and community resources
- Care coordination
- CMS orthopedic clinics for health, DME and orthotics management
Children’s Medical Services assists youth from birth to age 21 who have a chronic medical condition, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, seizures, spina bifida or sickle cell disease. Participants must also meet income requirements.
The Children’s Medical Services program is FREE to parents. However, based on federal poverty level guidelines, some health care services may require a fee.
For more information, please contact the Children’s Medical Services Coordinator or call 678.610.7417.