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


Recommendations:

Recommendation #7
The Bureau of Early Intervention must work to implement a comprehensive system of qualitative monitoring, which should include:

  1. consistent, comprehensive qualitative child and family outcome measurement and analysis,

  2. policies and procedures for the provision of support and technical assistance prior to and during the IFSP meeting to better assure that IFSPs reflect EI principles and recommended practices,

  3. policies and procedures for a system of peer review/reflective supervision of service delivery where appropriate and useful; and

  4. policies and procedures for the monitoring and evaluation of Family Support experiences.

Background

Historically and currently the focus of monitoring and evaluation in the Part C EI Program has been based on adherence to policy and procedure and relies on the collection of quantitative information. This type of monitoring is necessary for any system and the information collected is mainly used for APR submission. Monitoring, evaluation, and improvement strategies include a system of incentives and penalties, recoupment, and corrective action based on program data and post-IFSP documentation reviews.

Rationale for Recommendation

  • Due to new federal mandates for data collection, the Bureau of Early Intervention is collecting both Child and Family outcome data. CFCs also collect Family outcome and satisfaction data. These data pools are not coordinated and existing data has not been analyzed to assess the extent to which service delivery will or should be impacted.
  • Due to the independent nature of providers in the Vendor model, providers regularly work alone with children and families in the home or in other community settings. These providers have little access to peers for consultation purposes. Providers report a discomfort providing services in natural environments (which is required by federal law) due to this distance from peer consultation.
  • Illinois shifted from a center-based EI program to one in which the majority of services are provided in homes and other community settings. This generally means that families have fewer opportunities to spend time with other families who are sharing some of the same experiences. States, including Illinois, have struggled to replace the peer support that families used to receive from center-based EI programs. Efforts to do so should be monitored and evaluated to assess their effectiveness.

Required Actions

  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will continue its work with the Early Childhood Outcome Center and with the Child Outcomes and Family Outcomes Communities of Practice to determine whether Illinois' Child and Family Outcome data is stable and consistent enough to be a reliable indicator for monitoring and evaluation.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will review practices currently in place in other states as well as in CFCs in Illinois for the provision of support and TA prior to and during the IFSP meeting and will encourage the widespread implementation of effective practices.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will define peer review and, in collaboration with system stakeholders, design a system of peer review that incorporates EI policy, procedure, recommended practice, and licensure requirements.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will review the current structure and role of the Parent Liaison in order to assure that Parent Liaisons have access to consistent training, ongoing professional development and supervision and that parents/families across all CFCs have consistent and quality opportunities for family peer support.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will assure that as qualitative monitoring is implemented, only monitors with specific substantive training in a field will evaluate the appropriateness of services in that field, service delivery in that field, or evaluation decision in that field and such reviews should be done, if possible, during or prior to the IFSP meetings.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will undertake 2 activities designed to inform and support families participating in the Part C Early Intervention Program: (1) assure that service providers and service coordinators are adequately prepared to train families on the Part C Early Intervention Program and their role as their child's first teacher and primary advocate; and (2) assure that families receive information regarding quality opportunities in the community for parents/families to congregate for peer support and fellowship and if these opportunities are not available, work with CFCs to foster such opportunities with existing community resources.