Official Early Intervention Taskforce Report
Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Bureau of Early Intervention


Recommendations:

Recommendation #2
The Bureau of Early Intervention must conduct a thorough review of the current service delivery model, including a comprehensive evaluation of service delivery models operating in other states, in order to determine the degree to which changes need to be made to Illinois' model of service delivery.

Background

Illinois operates a Vendor model of service delivery using a fee-for-service reimbursement system. This means that vendors (service providers) credential independently with DHS. Vendors may then operate independently (as a sole proprietorship) or may work under an agency.

A number of states operate Vendor models. The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center reports that Vendor models of service delivery are considered less expensive overall (because states are not paying the vendor's overhead) and are believed to offer families a greater choice of provider.

Rationale for Recommendation

  • Because independent providers have less access to peer support for consultation and collaboration than agency-based providers, it is believed (and has been widely reported by stakeholders) that Illinois' model of service delivery impedes IFSP team members' abilities to "team" - communicate, share, build trust, role release - and appears to lead to increased levels of service, consequently challenging the state's ability to move to a more consultative model of service delivery (as recommended by the Evaluation of the Service Coordination Model and supported by the IICEI).
  • Illinois' model of service delivery lacks a formal structure or system to monitor the quality of services being provided - a critical component of any Vendor model because providers may be operating on their own without supervision or oversight.
  • The federal requirement to provide early intervention services in "natural environments" - settings where typically developing peers would spend their time - is difficult for the state to meet when service providers are able to refuse to serve certain areas (i.e. very rural communities, high crime areas).

Required Actions

  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will convene an Expert Advisory Panel to conduct a scholarly, research-based, comprehensive review of Illinois' current Part C EI service delivery model. Such panel shall include, but not be limited to: (1) providers of regional and national technical assistance (i.e. North Central Regional Resource Center, National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, Data Accountability Center), and (2) leading researchers in the field of Early Intervention. Such review shall also include a survey of service delivery models that are effective in other states to draw from best practice.