Newborn screening is a vital public health program that detects serious medical conditions that can cause devastating effects if treatment is not given prior to the onset of symptoms. Testing is mandatory in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The testing process involves the collection of a few drops of blood from a newborn's heel. Not all of the blood sample collected from newborns is used during routine screening, however, and after testing has been completed, many states retain the residual dried blood samples (DBS). These DBS have a broad range of potential uses, including program evaluation, development of new tests, public health and biomedical research unrelated to newborn screening, and surveillance for environmental contaminants.
This toolkit is intended to assist state policymakers to develop or improve policies for the use of DBS and related information.