About

 About Bright Futures

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If you are new to the Bright Futures Guidelines, this 2-minute video provides information you need to get started using the Bright Futures recommendations in your health promotion and disease prevention practices and with programs and families in your community.

Bright Futures Implementation Goals

The primary goal of Bright Futures implementation is to support primary care practices (medical homes) in providing well-child and adolescent care according to Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Settings for Bright Futures implementation include private practices, hospital-based or hospital-affiliated clinics, resident continuity clinics, school-based health centers, public health clinics, community health centers, Indian Health Service clinics, and other primary care facilities. 

A complementary goal is to provide home visitors, public health nurses, early child care and education professionals (including Head Start), school nurses, and nutritionists with an understanding of Bright Futures materials so that they can align their health promotion efforts with the recommendations in the Bright Futures Guidelines. This objective will ensure that patients receive information and support that is consistent from family and youth perspectives. 

Academic health institutions, health professional organizations, state agencies, and health insurance companies are equally committed to helping health care practitioners and other professionals who work with children, youth, and families achieve the above goals. These combined efforts support parents in their role as health promotion experts for their family and allow them to partner effectively with all of their health professionals.​​​​​

 Background: The Origins and History of Bright Futures

Nearly 25 years ago, a multidisciplinary group of pediatric health care experts and family representatives were asked to imagine our country's health picture if every child in America could look forward to a bright future—regardless of race, religion, background, income, politics, or any other factor. This group, convened by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Medicaid Bureau (part of the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS]), expressed its vision in the Bright Futures Children's Health Charter, which set the stage for the 1st Edition of the Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents in 1994.

The 2nd Edition of the Guidelines was released in 2000 and updated in 2002, under the auspices of the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University. By this time, its use in the field was growing. The Guidelines were being embraced by physicians, pediatric residents, nurse practitioners, and others who care for children, including families. State agencies, in particular Medicaid agencies responsible for administering the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) programs, were integrating the recommendations into covered services for infants and young children.

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) established the Bright Futures National Center (BFNC) to spearhead implementation efforts and update the Guidelines for a third time. Since the release of the 3rd Edition of the Bright Futures Guidelines in 2008, implementation in clinical practice, public health, and many other settings in the community, such as school health centers, child care settings, and home visiting programs, has steadily increased. Family Voices, a national grassroots network, has been an important partner over the years, translating the health supervision Guidelines into family-friendly materials to encourage the integral partnership between families and their health care providers as promoted by Bright Futures.

In 2010, 16 years after the 1st Edition of the Guidelines was released, the vision of pediatric preventive care for all was recognized in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA includes a critical provision to ensure that ALL children enrolled in individual and group non-grandfathered health care plans receive, without cost-sharing, the "standard" of preventive care screenings and services as recommended by the AAP/Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 3rd Edition.

Now, as the ACA continues to be implemented, the AAP and Bright Futures published Achieving Bright Futures, resources  for insurers, lawmakers, regulators, health care providers, and other stakeholders to guide the appropriate coverage, reporting, and reimbursement for covered pediatric preventive services.

The BFNC at the AAP continues to provide the leadership to put the Guidelines and related tools and resources into practice across the country. It provides technical assistance to states and communities to facilitate implementation, offers additional tools and resources to encourage use in different settings and by different disciplines, and promotes the use of Bright Futures Preventive Services Measures in clinical practice and in quality improvement efforts. The BFNC also is coordinating the effort to update the Guidelines by 2015 with the contributions of leading experts in many fields under the guidance of the Bright Futures editors and the Bright Futures Steering Committee members.

In cooperation with the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), the BFNC at the AAP also supports the Bright Futures Young Investigator Award (YIA) Program, funded by HRSA's MCHB. This program funds projects aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and evidence base for health supervision in primary care, consistent with the Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision for Infants, Children, and Adolescent, 3rd Edition. To learn more about this funding opportunity and recent accomplishments, visit the Young Investigators Preventive Services Research​ page.

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