The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Child Find Program was put in place to help identify children from birth to five years of age that might have possible delays in growth or cognitive (along those lines) or who have special needs. “We try to guide them into the right programs and resources that we can assist them with,” said Kelli Petrone, Exceptional Student Services administrator.
Child Find is under the umbrella of the SRPMIC Education Department. The purpose of Child Find is to identify, locate, and screen children from birth to five years who are in need of early intervention or special education services. The services provided by Child Find are free of charge to qualified Native American children who reside within the boundaries of SRPMIC.
Parent educators conduct developmental screenings for the young children and if there are concerns then follow-ups or referrals are made to the appropriate agency.
The Salt River Clinic and schools also may refer children to the program or by word of mouth. The Child Find program can be found at many events throughout the Community. Last year the members of the program went door-to-door to try and find families that could use Child Find’s assistance and another is scheduled this year.
In April, the Child Find will be doing door to door outreach on the program. “We will try to get as many homes in the Community to reach out to members and let them know of our services,” said Petrone.
The program will also be hosting a screening event May 9, held at the Community Building at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have any concerns about your child contact Child Find.
“When families come for our services they go through a whole screening process to see whether or not the child has any needs or not,” said Petrone. “Parent educators sit with the guardians and conduct questions about the child such as when they began to walk. If the child is old enough, the staff will do activities with them, as well as test for hearing and vision.”
If a parent or guardian is looking to find Child Find services, they can contact the program and a staff member from the program that will go to the home and do a screening with the child. Or they can come into the office.
There are currently three staff members that include Parent Educators Cassandra Yazzie and Kim Cohill and Clerk Maria Chappy.
Child Find helped 25 families last year and conducted over 200 screening with children.
“Its finding at risk children early so that they can get services at an early age because prevention is key, said Petrone. “The earlier we find them, the earlier we can work with them and get them what they need.”
Child Find is located behind the old Salt River Elementary campus on McDowell road. For information call (480) 362-2257.