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Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued updated screening and assessment recommendations for children’s preventive health care. The AAP also continued to emphasize the need for “unfragmented continuity of care” in comprehensive health supervision. Published online in Pediatrics, the 2017 policy statement contains changes to 11 areas of care, relative to the 2016 revision of the Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule, which cover care from birth to age 21. The recommendations note that “developmental, psychosocial, and chronic disease issues for children and adolescents may require frequent counseling and treatment visits separate from preventive care visits,” they caution, adding that unusual family circumstances may necessitate additional visits.

Changes include such care areas as:

  • Depression: Screening for adolescents should begin at age 12 years. In addition, physicians should ask about maternal depression at infants’ 1-, 2-, 4-, and 6-month medical visits.
  • Psychosocial-behavioral: The update underscores that assessment should be family-centered and, in addition to a child’s social and emotional health, may include evaluation of caregivers and social determinants of health.