Maine Senate unanimously approves bill to study how to increase child screening

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine ranks last in the nation in screenings for kids in their first year of life.

State Senators unanimously approved a bill Friday aimed at improving that.

It requires the Department of Health and Human Services to study what Maine is doing with early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment services for kids ages 0-8.

DHHS must report back to lawmakers by the end of the year on what they found and how Maine can improve services.

Early childhood is critical in the overall development of a child's brain.

"It's really important to get kids screened as early as possible, and then to get the services that they may need to make them healthy or keep them healthy and have them really prosper in school," said bill sponsor Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Harpswell. "It's just all about getting the kids when intervention can do the most good for them."

The bill now heads to the governor's desk.