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Socially Equitable Care by Understanding Resource Engagement (SECURE): Leveraging Research to Ensure Equity

Statement of Problem

Economic hardships can significantly impede a child’s development, overall health and well-being, and the ability to succeed in school and in life. The current economic recession and racial disparities underscored by COVID-19 have magnified this impact on children and hastened the already rapid growth of screening protocols for social risk factors—such as food and housing insecurity, financial strain and unsafe environments—within pediatric health care.

Although screening is generally the first step in social risk interventions, this may lead to inequality in the distribution and utilization of social resources through three major mechanisms: 1) discordance between screening results and desire for services; 2) discomfort with screening and fear of negative repercussions; 3) racial biases in screening. Eliminating screening processes may help to reduce inequality in the distribution of resources, and in turn, can decrease disparities in health and behavioral outcomes for children when families receive and engage with social resources.


Next Steps

While addressing social risk may be considered a moral imperative, this contribution will move the work toward evidence-based practice by carefully examining the impact of screening. We hope that the findings of this study will be directly applied to institutional and regional interventions that address social risk, and will inform adjustments to current policies and practices, including potential de-implementation of social risk screening.

For more information on the SECURE project, click here.

This project page was last updated in November 2021.

Suggested Citation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Evaluating the Impact of Social Risk Screening on Uptake of Social Assistance: Leveraging Research to Ensure Equity [online]. Available at: [Accessed: plug in date accessed here].