Indicator 8: Percent of all children exiting Part C who received timely transition planning to support the child’s transition

Overview of the State Performance Plan Development: See Indicator 1 for a description of this process.

In early 2002, the IICEI placed particular emphasis on improving the transition process. They have received regular reports on transition performance, similar to the measure used in OSEP's focused monitoring, since that time. The same measure has been included in the program's performance contracting system since its inception. After performance seemed to level out at the end of SFY 04/FFY 03, new steps were introduced based on public input. A new set of termination codes was introduced to help the program better understand why cases were being closed without special education eligibility being determined. Also, a new transition tracking form was introduced to help the program get better feedback from school districts. All of these efforts have helped inform the development of the State Performance Plan.

The original SPP submitted February 1, 2006 included baseline data from a table in the Cornerstone client data system where detail was kept on each of the OSEP questions. However, it has since been determined that some Service Coordinators were utilizing a different entry screen to record the same data elements in a different Cornerstone table. As of February 1, 2007, this problem still exists but the program is in the process of merging data into a single table. Until this process is complete it has not been feasible to measure performance through the monthly reporting process used for most other measures, as was originally planned. It is clear that even when the data is merged it will still be incomplete. More children are having eligibility determined than the combined number of entries in these two tables. If the Cornerstone system can document that a child's special education eligibility was determined it is clear that information was shared with the school district and transition meetings were held, even if it is not recorded in the system.

The program would like to count on the specific data entries in Cornerstone. Once the data tables are merged we anticipate including this in the monthly reporting to CFCs. However, for purposes of reporting on this indicator, it will be assumed that information was transferred to the LEA and that transition meetings were held if eligibility was determined, even if dates were not entered into Cornerstone. If eligibility was not determined compliance will depend on dates being entered into Cornerstone.

(The following items are to be completed for each monitoring priority/indicator.)

Monitoring Priority Effective General Supervision Part C / Effective Transition
Indicator 8

Percent of all children exiting Part C who received timely transition planning to support the child's transition to preschool and other appropriate community services by their third birthday including:

IFSPs with transition steps and services

  1. Notification to LEA, if child potentially eligible for Part B: and
  2. Transition conference, if child potentially eligible for Part B. 
    (20 USC 1416(a)(3)(B) and 1442)
Measurement
  1. Percent = # of children exiting Part C who have an IFSP with transition steps and services divided by # of children exiting Part C times 100.
  2. Percent = # of children exiting Part C and potentially eligible for Part B where notification to the LEA occurred divided by the # of children exiting Part C who were potentially eligible for Part B times 100.
  3. Percent = # of children exiting Part C and potentially eligible for Part B where the transition conference occurred divided by the # of children exiting Part C who were potentially eligible for Part B times 100.

Overview of Issue/Description of System or Process:

In conformity with federal law, each IFSP is to include discussion of the transition, regardless of the age of the child. Six months prior to a child's third birthday their service coordination agency is to forward detail on all children who may be eligible for special education to the local education agency, unless the family does not consent to the transfer of that information. Although, based on guidance from OSEP and coordination with the Illinois State Board of Education, the program began forwarding information on all potentially eligible children to the Part B system effective with FFY 06/SFY 07. For FFY 05/SFY 06 the program forwarded identifying information on all children coded in Cornerstone as not having eligibility determined.

A transition meeting is required no later than 90 days prior to a child's third birthday. The program has data elements within its Cornerstone client data system to record each of these events but we have not systematically measured compliance with these rules in the past. However, we find that assessment of performance based on those data elements undercounts compliance with the rules. Based on other measures we can demonstrate that compliance is much higher than the specific data elements indicate. Thus, our discussions of recent and baseline performance will focus on the measures we have been following for some years. Baseline data for FFY 04/SFY 05 and APR data for FFY 05/SFY 06 has been revised from the original submission to depend on multiple data sources to demonstrate a more accurate picture. In fact, even this system probably shows performance below what it actually was for the baseline and target periods.

The Illinois Early Intervention program, encouraged and supported by the IICEI, has placed great importance on improving performance in the transitioning of children out of EI by closely following special education eligibility determination at age three. In January 2002, transition performance (exit at age three) was one of the elements in the first monthly statistical reports. The IICEI made transition performance one of the select elements it receives updates on for all their meetings. When performance contracting was introduced for SFY 03/FFY 02, transition performance was one of the six items that carried incentive funding for the best performing service coordination agencies (CFCs). When the number of items carrying incentive funding was expanded for SFY 04/FFY 03, transition became the only item that carried a 2% incentive. All others are worth 1%. This was to emphasize the special significance the program places on the transition process.

After a period of significant improvement, the program found that performance had leveled out significantly short of the goal of reaching OSEP focused monitoring benchmarks. In an effort to learn more about why cases were not having special education eligibility determined by age three a new set of termination code modifiers were introduced effective January 1, 2005. These modifiers require the reasons to be identified as CFC, LEA, family noncompliance, or family refuses referral. The initial results from adding these modifiers were disappointing and will be discussed later. However, the program is using those results and sharing them with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to help improve the process.

During SFY 05/FFY 04, the program also initiated two new efforts to improve the transition process in conjunction with the ISBE. First, a transition tracking form, which had been piloted in several parts of the state, was introduced statewide (see Attachment 4). This form is included with the transition packets CFCs send to LEAs. LEAs are to complete the form and send it back to the CFC. The detail from the form is then added to the Cornerstone data system. CFCs are getting better feedback on what happened in the transition process and the ability of the EI Bureau to monitor what is happening is enhanced.

Second, an interagency data sharing agreement between IDHS and ISBE was signed. IDHS is now in the process of developing monthly reports that will be forwarded to ISBE of each child who has reached 27-months of age or who started services and was over 27-months old. A follow-up report will be sent monthly of all children who were forwarded to them previously as enrolled in Part C who terminated from service and the termination reason. The EI program will introduce several additions to its client data system that will make it easier for ISBE to use these reports, most notably school district numbers. The original system to require Service Coordinators to enter the school district number manually but this has been replaced by an electronic system that identifies the district for at least 99% of children with computer geocoding software. This makes the data much more complete and useable for ISBE.

This process technically will duplicate what is required by rule to transpire between CFCs and schools. However, Illinois' Part C and Part B programs can now guarantee that Part B will receive child find information on all children and at least 99% will already have a school district number assigned. ISBE will forward this detail to the appropriate LEA. CFCs will still forward transition planning packets to LEAs, even if the family declines transfer. The CFC is directed to send the transition tracking form but only with the data elements provided through the data sharing agreement and with the notation that the family has declined the transfer.

The EI program also sends ISBE a monthly summary report of child counts divided by age and school district number. ISBE will make this report available to school districts to help them in their planning. Initial plans for a ZIP code version of the report were abandoned because the geocoding process is so effective it would not be helpful.

Emphasis has been placed on fine-tuning the data sharing process with the State Board of Education (ISBE). Problems are now rare and there are ways to overcome those issues. During FFY 06/SFY 07 ISBE was phasing in its process of transferring information to the LEAs. In 25 school districts, including for all cases from the City of Chicago, the LEA received the child find data through this process for the full year. ISBE also receives a matrix of the number of children enrolled by age cohort for each school district each month and a list of children terminating from EI with information similar to what they receive on the child find lists. The matrix can be used to aid in local planning. The termination lists help ISBE follow-up with school districts on those cases where EI indicates SE eligibility was not determined.

ISBE is providing feedback to EI to help improve the data sharing process. ISBE found that the termination lists did not include all the expected names. So, EI is moving to correct that problem. Now that all LEAs receive lists of children getting ready to transition and ISBE includes transition performance in local determination scores, for the first time school districts have been aggressively seeking information from CFCs about children, even before the CFC is ready to send it. ISBE is sending a clarification that school districts should wait until a child turns 31-month of age to follow-up. This should achieve out joint goals, while eliminating unnecessary work by both LEAs and CFCs.

For purposes of reporting on the transfer of information indicator, it will be assumed that information was transferred to the LEA if it was recorded in Cornerstone and we know that information was transferred for all Chicago children. A similar assumption could have been made about the other, smaller school districts in the pilot but a more conservative approach has been taken. For FFY 07/FFY 08 ISBE implemented the data transfer system statewide. So, we will report based on reporting in Cornerstone but will assume 100% compliance based on the data sharing process. However, this does not remove the requirement that CFCs transfer referral information to the LEA and that they record that in Cornerstone. This is even true when a family declines referral. Service coordination agencies have been directed to send a tracking form to the LEA with just the child-find data elements in the data transfer and a notation that the family has declined referral.

If eligibility was determined, even if dates were not entered into Cornerstone it demonstrates that a transition meeting was held. If eligibility was not determined compliance will depend on dates being entered into Cornerstone. During the latter months of FFY 06/FFY 07, the program incorporated recording of transition meetings held into its monthly statewide and CFC level statistical reports. This measure is very strict. It only counts specific events recorded. If SE eligibility was determined but a meeting was not recorded it is not counted. Effective with third quarter of FFY 07/SFY 08, the proportion of transition meetings held for children exiting the program at age 3 is one of the 10 measures for which incentive funding is granted to the top 12 performing CFCs each quarter. The proportion of children who have SE eligibility determined when they leave the program at age 3 also remains a measure that carries incentive funding.

Incentive funding provides a positive reward to agencies that perform well. There are also negative consequences to doing poorly in the transition process relative to the rest of the state. Local determinations are set based on a scorecard. A CFC receives a point if their average rank for all 10 incentive measures overall puts them in the bottom five of 25, indicating weak performance overall. Two of the 10 measures relate to transition. Reflecting the EI Council's special concern about transition and concern about poor performance and limited improvement relative to other measures, the bottom five CFCs in terms of recording transition meetings are given another negative mark against them. A CFC can receive no more than one point to be determined in substantial compliance. A score of four or more puts them in the lowest group.

Baseline Data for FFY 2004 (2004-2005):

FFY 04/SFY 05 Transition Performance Documented Within Cornerstone Data System 

Percent = # of children exiting Part C who have an IFSP with transition steps and services divided by # of children exiting Part C times 100.

Transition Steps All
Terminations
Not SE
Eligible
Potentially
Eligible
Transition
Steps
% With
Steps
State Totals 14,184 3,214 10,970 7,742 70.6%

Percent = # of children exiting Part C and potentially eligible for Part B where notification to the LEA occurred divided by the # of children exiting Part C who were potentially eligible for Part B times 100.

Notification to Terminations
Past 30 Months
Not SE
Eligible
Potentially
Eligible
Referrals % With
Referral
State Totals 10,920 3,214 10,970  7,742 70.6%

Percent = # of children exiting Part C and potentially eligible for Part B where the transition conference occurred divided by the # of children exiting Part C who were potentially eligible for Part B times 100.

Those w/
Transition Conference
Terminations
Past 30 Months
Not SE
Eligible
Potentially
Eligible
Transition
Meetings
% With
Meetings
Family
Reasons
% Family
Reasons
State Totals 10,920 1,826 9,094 7,392 81.3% 892 52.4%
  1. For transition steps documented all terminations are counted, regardless of age.
  2. Not special education eligible includes deaths, moves out of state and cases closed as no longer being eligible for EI/plan of care complete. Although, in many of these cases referrals may have been made and transition meetings may have been held.
  3. Transition meeting measure also counts cases closed due to "No response from parent" as not eligible. In most cases these families have moved and not informed the program. Both the CFC and ISBE will pursue these families but such terminations indicate those efforts have failed.
  4. For referrals and meetings held, terminations limited to cases closed after a child is at least 30-months old.
  5. Transition steps, referrals and transition meetings counted if termination indicates SE eligibility was determined or if the termination reason does not indicate eligibility was determined but Cornerstone specifically indicates that the appropriate action was taken.
  6. Family reasons indicate specific documentation in the termination reason as a family reason. New codes that helped better indicate the reason eligibility was not determined were not implemented until January 1, 2005.

FFY 04/SFY 05 Terminations with Transition Steps By Geographic Region Documented Within Cornerstone Data System

Area of State All Terminations Not SE Eligible Potentially Eligible Transition Steps % With Steps
Chicago 3,206 680 2,526 1,469 58.2%
Suburban Cook 2,681 643 2,038 1,501 73.7%
Collar Counties 4,160 981 3,179 2,368 74.5%
Downstate 4,137 910 3,227 2,404 74.5%
Statewide 14,184 3,214 10,970 7,742 70.6%

FFY 04/SFY 05 Referrals to LEA's By Geographic Region Documented Within Cornerstone Data System

Area of State All Terminations Not SE Eligible Potentially Eligible Transition Meetings % of Meetings Family Reasons % Family Reasons
Chicago 2,445 483 1,962 1,376 70.1% 336 57.3%
Suburban Cook 2,058 357 1,701 1,427 83.9% 151 55.1%
Collar Counties 3,192 453 2,739 2,301 84.0% 259 59.1%
Downstate 3,225 533 2,692 2,288 85.0% 146 36.1%
State 10,920 1,826 9,094 7,392 81.3% 892 52.4%

Historic Distribution of Early Intervention Terminations from IFSP

10 13 16 31 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
FY 01 0.60% 12.80% 2.60% 2.70% 7.90% 12.30% 7.10% 18.30% 22.70% 2.20% 0.80% 9.30%
FY 02 0.60% 16.40% 5.90% 2.30% 4.40% 2.60% 10.00% 29.20% 17.20% 3.50% 0.90% 6.90%
FY 03 0.70% 9.80% 2.20% 3.10% 4.60% 0.90% 10.70% 46.30% 6.30% 9.10% 0.40% 6.00%
FY 04 0.50% 9.50% 2.20% 3.60% 4.60% 0.40% 11.40% 46.10% 5.70% 8.40% 0.30% 7.40%
FY 05 0.70% 9.90% 2.20% 3.50% 4.80% 0.30% 13.90% 42.90% 7.70% 6.30% 0.30% 7.50%

Distribution of IFSP Terminations at Age 3

FY SE Eligible SE Inelig. Not Deter.
FY 01 39.30% 6.50% 54.20%
FY 02 51.40% 7.80% 40.80%
FY 03 72.00% 14.80% 13.30%
FY 04 73.40% 13.90% 12.70%
FY 05 72.20% 11.20% 16.60%

Distribution of IFSP Terminations By General Grouping

FY Family Reasons Closed < 3 Yrs. Age 3 Other
FY 01 22.10% 27.30% 46.60% 4.00%
FY 02 23.40% 17.00% 56.70% 2.90%
FY 03 15.80% 16.20% 64.30% 3.70%
FY 04 16.90% 16.30% 62.70% 4.10%
FY 05 17.30% 19.00% 59.40% 4.20%

Terminations Codes/Reasons

Symbol Terminations Codes/Reasons
10-Deceased
# 13-Withdrawn by Parent
>  16-Auto-termination (at 37 months)
31-Moved Out-of-State
& 33-EI Ineligible with Referrals (Under 3)
& 34-EI Ineligible/No Referrals (Under 3)
& 35-Completed IFSP Under 3
>  36-Eligible for Special Education
>  37-Special Ed. Eligibility Not Determined
>  38-Special Ed. Ineligible w/Referrals
>  39-Special Ed. Ineligible/No Referrals
# 40-No Response from Parents
>  Terminations at Age 3
& Not eligible/Completed Before Age 3
# Family Reasons

Discussion of Baseline Data:

Illinois' client data system includes data elements necessary to measure performance in the three ways required for the State Performance Plan. However, states have never been asked to report in this way before. So, while the program has put particular emphasis on improving transition performance in the way states have previously been measured by OSEP and can demonstrate significant improvement over time in those areas, prior to the original submission of the SPP we have not look at performance in the way that is now required.

To complete this report the program had to look at three different sources within Cornerstone. The most important of these is termination reason. We start with all terminations to consider if transition steps were present. For the referrals and transition meetings questions, rules provide that a transition packet should be sent to the LEA, with parental consent, by the time a child turns 30 months old. So, we first consider any child who left after that point. Children, who died, moved out of state or whom the IFSP team found no longer eligible for EI are deemed to not be potentially eligible for special education. Although, in many cases referrals may have been made anyway. The appropriate steps are deemed to have taken place if a child's termination reason indicates special education eligibility was determined.

At this point, if a child's eligibility was not determined, we also look at two different Cornerstone tables to see if the appropriate steps were documented. As of February 1, 2007 two problems remain but are being addressed. The first is that the same data is being kept in two different tables. This causes confusion and probably contributes to the second problem. A significant number of cases have no records in either table, although we can see from other means that the work is being done.

The program is the process of merging data from the two competing tables. We are emphasizing the importance of completing information on the table that will remain and will offer more directed training once the process is complete. Already documentation has improved considerably. However, it is likely that the percentages documented continue to under count the actual performance in the field.

The program was able to document that 70.6% of children leaving the program had transition steps. All of the larger areas of the state were above the average except Chicago, which was only at 58.2%. The program recently completed a study of what factors were indicators of poor performance in transition. We found that minorities and families on Medicaid were less likely to complete a successful transition process. The caseload is Chicago is predominately minority and on Medicaid.

There were similar patterns for referrals and for transition meetings. There was documentation that there were referrals in 78.0% of cases and in 81.3% of potentially eligible terminations there was documentation that a transition meeting took place.

In the future, Service Coordinators will regularly complete the data elements necessary to document this aspect of their work and compliance will appear to improve dramatically. In addition, a new system of data sharing between DHS and the Illinois State Board of Education will assure 95% to 100% compliance with the requirement to send information on potentially eligible children to LEAs. It is important to note that existing requirements for CFCs to send information to LEAs will remain in place as well .

As was noted previously, Illinois started placing increased emphasis on completing the transition process starting in the middle of SFY 02/FFY 01. This produced significant improvement through SFY 03/FFY 02. The proportion of cases closed for which the program could not document that special education had been determined fell from 54.2% in SFY 01/FFY 00 to 40.8% in SFY 02/FFY 01 to 13.3% in SFY 03/FFY 02. However, SFY 04/FFY 03 showed very little progress, falling by only 0.6% to 12.7%.

Feeling that progress had stalled short of program goals, a set of modifiers were added to help identify problems that could be addressed. Unexpectedly, the introduction of these new modifiers coincided with a significant increase in the proportion of cases closing without special education eligibility being determined. For all of SFY 05/FFY 04 16.6% of cases closing at age three did not have SE eligibility determined and for just the second half of the year it was 18.7%. The reason for this apparent sudden deterioration in performance is not clear. However, we can tell that in that period 18.8% were due to families declining referrals, 2.5% were for CFC reasons, and 21.5% were due to LEA failures. Unfortunately, 57.0% of terminations without SE determination were labeled as being due to failures of families to follow through on their obligations. This problem must be addressed if performance is to improve, let alone meet the requirement for 100% compliance. The decision to follow OSEP guidance and establish a system which will forward the information on all potentially eligible children to ISBE is partially driven by the fact this continues to be such a large problem, even after years of special attention to the issue.

The statistics on underlying reasons for failure to determine SE eligibility discussed above do not include cases terminated automatically by the Cornerstone system. A case can remain open in Cornerstone for up to 30 days after a child's third birthday to allow for the final completion of the transition process and to allow the CFC to continue general assistance to the family, but not direct services as authorized on an IFSP. On the 30th day, if the CFC has not actively terminated the case the system will do it automatically. To help improve the accuracy and usability of termination data for both Part C and Part B, the EI program will be moving to require that cases that are auto-closed be corrected to reflect what actually happened with the case.

The primary analysis as required by OSEP does include automatic terminations. Those cases can be counted as having failed to meet the requirement unless the appropriate step is specifically documented in Cornerstone.

FFY Measurable and Rigorous Target
2005
(2005-2006)
  • Every child leaving Part C will have transition steps and services in their IFSP
  • The LEA will have been notified of the potential eligibility of every child who leaves Part C at age 3
  • A transition conference will be held for every child who leaves the program at age 3 and whose family has consented to participate in a meeting
2006
(2006-2007)
  • Every child leaving Part C will have transition steps and services in their IFSP
  • The LEA will have been notified of the potential eligibility of every child who leaves Part C at age 3
  • A transition conference will be held for every child who leaves the program at age 3 and whose family has consented to participate in a meeting
2007
(2007-2008)
  • Every child leaving Part C will have transition steps and services in their IFSP
  • The LEA will have been notified of the potential eligibility of every child who leaves Part C at age 3, if the family has consented to the release of data
  • A transition conference will be held for every child who leaves the program at age 3 and whose family has consented to participate in a meeting
2008
(2008-2009)
  • Every child leaving Part C will have transition steps and services in their IFSP
  • The LEA will have been notified of the potential eligibility of every child who leaves Part C at age 3
  • A transition conference will be held for every child who leaves the program at age 3 and whose family has consented to participate in a meeting
2009
(2009-2010)
  • Every child leaving Part C will have transition steps and services in their IFSP
  • The LEA will have been notified of the potential eligibility of every child who leaves Part C at age 3
  • A transition conference will be held for every child who leaves the program at age 3 and whose family has consented to participate in a meeting
2010
(2010-2011)
  • Every child leaving Part C will have transition steps and services in their IFSP
  • The LEA will have been notified of the potential eligibility of every child who leaves Part C at age 3
  • A transition conference will be held for every child who leaves the program at age 3 and whose family has consented to participate in a meeting
2011
(2011-2012)
  1. 100 percent of children exiting Part C who have an IFSP will have transition steps and services.
  2. The LEAs will have been notified of 100 percent of the children exiting Part C that are potentially eligibility for Part B.
  3. A transition conference will be held for 100 percent of the children who leave the Part C program at age 3 and whose families have consented to participate in a meeting.
2012
(2012-2013)
  1. 100 percent of children exiting Part C who have an IFSP will have transition steps and services.
  2. The LEAs will have been notified of 100 percent of the children exiting Part C that are potentially eligibility for Part B.
  3. A transition conference will be held for 100 percent of the children who leave the Part C program at age 3 and whose families have consented to participate in a meeting.