Developmental and Social–Emotional Screening of Young Children (0–6 years of age) in Minnesota
Minnesota Department of Human Services Minnesota Department of Education Minnesota Department of Health


Screening is a brief, simple procedure used to identify potential health, developmental, or social-emotional problems in infants and young children in the context of family, community, and culture who may need a health assessment, diagnostic assessment, or educational evaluation.

The screening process:

  • Provides an opportunity for young children and their families to access a wide variety of services and early childhood programs; and
  • Promotes and supports parents’ understanding of their child’s health, development, and learning.

Developmental screening is the early identification of children at risk for cognitive, motor, communication, or social-emotional delays that may interfere with expected growth, learning, and development that may warrant further diagnosis, assessment, and evaluation.

Developmental screening instruments include (at least) the domains of: cognition, fine and gross motor skills, speech and language, and social-emotional development.

Social emotional screening is a component of developmental screening of young children that focuses on the early identification of possible delays in the expected development of a child’s ability to:

    • Express and regulate emotions
    • Form close and secure relationships, and
    • Explore his/her environment and learn

Mental health screening is the early identification of children at risk for possible mental health disorders that may interfere with expected growth, learning, or development that warrant further assessment, diagnosis, or evaluation.

The developmental and social-emotional screening instruments described here are recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for use in comprehensive screening programs for children in Minnesota (see All Instruments At A Glance). These screening programs include, but are not limited to:

The Minnesota Department of Health also recommends the following developmental screening and social-emotional instruments for clinics and providers serving the children of Minnesota (see Instruments At A Glance for Clinics and Providers).