The Illinois Department of Human Services will introduce legislation to amend the Early Intervention Services System Act and will update all policies, procedures, forms and consents regarding transition to be consistent with new Part C regulations. Updates will include the following:
TRANSITION TO PRESCHOOL AND OTHER PROGRAMS
- If a toddler is referred fewer than 45 days before their third birthday, and the toddler may be eligible for preschool services under Part B of the Act, Early Intervention (EI) is not required to conduct an evaluation/assessment, or hold an initial Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) meeting. EI may refer the child to the State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agency (LEA) where the child resides for preschool services.
- If a toddler is referred for EI services between 45 and 90 days before their third birthday and is determined to be eligible for Part C services, and if the toddler may be eligible for Part B preschool services, as soon as possible after determining the child's Part C eligibility the SEA and LEA will be notified.
SCIENTIFICALLY BASED RESEARCH
- Early Intervention provider guidance will be modified to ensure that appropriate early intervention services are based on scientifically based research, to the extent practicable, and are available to all infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, including
- Indian infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families residing on a reservation geographically located in the State and
- Infants and toddlers with disabilities who are homeless children and their families.
- 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), defines the term scientifically-based research as follows:
- means research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs; and
- includes research that -
- employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
- involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
- relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators;
- is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls;
- ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings; and
- has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review.
COMPREHENSIVE CHILD FIND SYSTEM
- Provisions for primary referral sources referring a child as soon as possible, but in no case more than seven days, after the child has been identified.
POST REFERRAL TIMELINE (45 DAYS)
- The 45-day timeline does not apply for any period when the child or parent is unavailable to complete the initial evaluations/assessments of the child and family, or the initial IFSP meeting due to exceptional family circumstances that are documented in the child's early intervention records.
- The 45-day timeline does not apply if the parent has not provided consent for the initial evaluation/assessment, despite repeated attempts to obtain parental consent.
- If there are exceptional family circumstances or repeated attempts to reach the family this information must be documented in the child's early intervention records.
- Once the exceptional circumstances no longer exist or parental consent has been obtained for the initial evaluation/assessment the 45-day timeline will begin.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
- Child and Family Connections (CFC) shall ensure the confidentiality of all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collected or maintained pursuant to Part C in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232 (g), 34 CFR part 99, 89 Illinois Administrative Code 500, and 303.401through 303.417.
CONFIDENTILAITY NOTICE FOR PARENTS
- The CFC shall give parents Confidentiality Notice when a child is referred for Part C services. The Confidentiality Notice shall include:
- a description of the children on whom personally identifiable information is maintained;
- the type of information sought;
- the methods the State intends to use in gathering the information; (4) the sources from whom the information is gathered;
- the uses of the information;
- a summary of the policies and procedures the CFC and providers must follow regarding storage, disclosure to third parties, retention and destruction of PII;
- a description of the rights of parents and children regarding the PII ; and
- a description of the extent that the notice is provided in native languages in the various population groups in the State.
PARENTS ACCESS TO EARLY INTERVENTION RECORDS
- The CFC shall comply with a parents request to inspect and review any EI records, including records related to evaluations and assessments, screening, eligibility determinations, development and implementation of IFSPs, provision of early intervention services, individual complaints involving the child, or any part of the child's early intervention record.
- The CFC must reply with a request without unnecessary delay, and before any meeting regarding an IFSP and before any Due Process Hearing. In all cases, the CFC shall comply within 10 calendar days after the request has been made.
- the right to inspect and review includes:
- the right to a response from the CFC to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the EI records;
- the right to request copies; and
- the right to have a representative of the parent inspect and review the EI records.
AMENDMENT OF RECORDS AT PARENT'S REQUEST
- A parent who believes that information in the EI records are inaccurate, misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of the child or parent may request that the CFC amend the information. The
- CFC must decide whether to amend the information within five business days of the request. If the CFC denies the request to amend the records, the CFC must-
- inform the parent;
- advise the parent of a right to an informal hearing; and
- notify the EI Central Office within the five business day time period referenced above.
- The EI Central Office will set the informal hearing within seven business days of receiving notice of the dispute. The hearing officer will be designated by the Part C Coordinator. The parent shall be given the opportunity to present evidence and may, at his or her own expense, be assisted or represented by one or more individuals, including an attorney. A decision will be issued in writing within ten business days of the completion of the hearing. The decision must be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decisions.
- If the outcome of the hearing is that the record must be amended, the information shall be amended and the parent shall be informed in writing. If the outcome of the hearing is the record does not need to be amended, the parent must be notified that he or she has a right to place in the EI record a statement commenting on the information and setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision. The statement must be maintained as part as the EI record as long as the record is maintained by the CFC and if the records are disclosed to any party; the statement also shall be disclosed to the party.
FEES FOR RECORDS
- The parents shall be provided at no cost a copy of each evaluation, assessment of the child, family assessment and IFSP as soon as possible after each IFSP meeting.
- The CFC may charge a fee for copies of records that are made for parents if the fee does not effectively prevent the parents from exercising their right to inspect and review the records. The CFC may not charge a search fee to retrieve information.
DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS
- At intake, the CFC shall inform the parent that records must be maintained for three years after the child stops receiving Part C services. If the parent requests that the records be destroyed after the three year period, the CFC shall destroy the records. This means physical destruction of the record or ensuring all personal identifiers are removed from the record so that the record is no longer personally identifiable. However, a permanent record of a child's name, date of birth, parent contact information (including address and phone number), names of service coordinator(s) and provider(s), exit data (including year and age upon exit, and any programs entered into upon exiting) may be maintained without time limitation. The records shall not be destroyed if litigation is threatened or pending without written permission from the Part C Coordinator.
- Parents may file a State Complaint for violations of the procedural safeguards found in 303.401 through 303.417. The Department may impose appropriate sanctions for such violations.
- The term "native language" means
- the language normally used by that individual, or, in the case a child, the language normally used by the parents of the child, except s provided in 303.25(a) (2)
- The "native language" for an individual who is limited English proficient means, for evaluations and assessments conducted pursuant to 303.321(a)(5) and (a) (6), the language normally used by the child if determined developmentally appropriate for the child by qualified personnel conducting the evaluation or assessment.
STATE COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
- If the Department determines the responding party to a State Complaint failed to provide appropriate services, the Department shall address
- corrective actions required to correct the cause(s) of the State Complaint; and
- whether changes to policy and procedures which impact the future provision of service for children with disabilities and their families are required.
- The Department may award the Complainant compensatory services or monetary reimbursement from the Responding Party where appropriate.
PARENTS RIGHT TO TRANSCRIPTION
- The parent involved in a due process hearing the right to receive a written or electronic verbatim transcription of the hearing and a copy of the written findings of fact and decisions at no cost to the parent.