Developmental Surveillance Initative

What is this study about?

Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, as part of a comprehensive multi-ministry strategy supporting children and youth with special needs to get the timely and effective services they need, the Developmental Surveillance Initiative is grounded in strong understanding of child development and how children learn.

The Developmental Surveillance Initiative moves the developmental screening process from a conventional screening approach to a process of developmental support during which “temperatures” to assess developmental progress are taken at multiple times.

Founded on the premise that understanding development in early childhood ideally is based on “many eyes, many measures, many times and many situations”, the project’s screening process will support global development and well-being of children from birth to age six (inclusive), providing resources and supports so trained providers are able to:

    • Partner with and support families to build a shared understanding of their child’s development and how to support development; and
    • Measure “developmental temperature” in order to match support that a child may need to the temperature (e.g., continued engagement with the family, provision of resources and reassessment at a later time, referral)


Project work is to be completed in four phases:

    • Phase 1 (2014-2015): Conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups with parents and educators to inform the development of the Early Years Check-In (initially named the Developmental Temperature Taking Tool)
    • Phase 2 and 3 (2015-2017): Revised and tested the new tool, the Early Years Check-In and develop supporting resources
    • Phase 4 (2017-2019): A process evaluation of implementation of the Early Years Check-In tool

How do I get more information about the Developmental Surveillance Initiative?

Please contact Dr. John Cairney, INCH Director, at;

Dr. Kalpana Nair, Research Associate, at; or

Dr. Heather Clark, Postdoctoral Fellow at

How do I get more information about Ontario's Special Needs Strategy?