3.1 What is Child and Family Connections (CFC)

The CFC is the regional intake entity responsible for ensuring that all referrals to the EI Services System receive a timely response in a professional and family-centered manner. Each CFC is responsible for implementation of the EI Services System within their specific geographic region of the state.

The CFC functions as the electronic link between the CFC region and the Central Billing Office (CBO) via the state Cornerstone system. Client referral information is stored electronically in Cornerstone and routine updates are made based upon information obtained and decisions made with respect to eligibility, service planning, and service delivery through development and implementation of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

3.2 CFC Functions

All CFC activities should be conducted in ways that are consistent with FERPA and HIPAA. Service coordination is an active, ongoing process that involves assisting parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities in gaining access to, and coordinating the provision of, the EI services required under this part; and coordinating the other services identified in the IFSP under § 303.344(e) that are needed by, or are being provided to, the infant or toddler with a disability and that child's family.

All staff employed as Service Coordinators by a CFC are required to obtain an EI credential prior to providing services to families.

CFCs must ensure a Service Coordinator who is "in process" with Provider Connections (waiting for their temporary or full credential) never enters a child/family's home without a credentialed Service Coordinator being present at all times. In addition, the CFC must ensure a Service Coordinator does not provide direct services to any child within the CFC geographic areas which they are employed. The CFC is responsible for ensuring parents are provided provider choice in accordance with Chapter 12 - Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP), see 12.8 & 12.9 - Provider Selection & Provisional Authorization Process.

CFC activities include:

  • Receiving referrals;
  • Developing, maintaining, and processing the permanent EI case record;
  • Providing families with information about the EI Services System, including accurate and timely information regarding choices or options and thorough information about rights, procedural safeguards (see Chapter 6 - Disputes), available advocacy services and opportunities and responsibilities under federal and state law;
  • Facilitating and participating in the IFSP development within 45 days after the initial date of referral also reviewing, monitoring, evaluating and updating;
  • Conducting and completing intake;
  • Coordinating the provision of EI and non-EI services and other services (such as educational, social and medical services that are not provided for diagnostic or evaluative purposes) that the child needs or is being provided for enrolled families;
  • Ensuring completion of initial and annual eligibility determination, including insurance and financial information;
  • Complying with family fee policies;
  • Coordinating evaluations and assessments necessary for development of IFSPs;
  • Completing current EI levels of development/child outcome ratings.
  • Conducting referral and other activities to assist families in identifying available EI providers;
  • Monitoring that the integrity of the IFSP process is maintained and completed.
  • Assisting the family in monitoring IFSP implementation and obtaining updated documentation from service providers listed on the IFSP;
  • Determining and ensuring implementation of appropriate EI services are being provided by communicating monthly with the family, using a variety of mechanisms, including:
    • face-to-face,
    • telephone,
    • written correspondence,
    • with appropriate consent, e-mail and/or text for basic appointment communication - NEVER SEND PII THROUGH E-MAIL OR TEXT unless securely protected/encrypted, and
    • other methods, including team meetings, to ensure that the family is well informed and functioning as an active participant in the implementation of the IFSP.
  • Assuring that all IFSPs are reviewed at least every six months and updated annually;
  • Facilitating the development of a transition plan to preschool, school or, if appropriate, to other services.
  • Being knowledgeable of and complying with all applicable federal and State laws, guidelines, procedures, rules, regulations, and executive orders applicable to CFC activities;
  • Maintaining accurate documentation in the form of case notes that summarize all conversations held between a Service Coordinator and a child's family and/or providers;
  • Ensuring the Service Coordinators use their laptop whenever possible or utilize paper records to be transcribed into Cornerstone when connection is established, always safeguarding HIPAA and FERPA compliance.
  • Participating in a process to measure family outcomes;
  • Knowing, understanding, and following the philosophy of EI;
  • Social Emotional Activities; (see Chapter 4 - CFC Support Services, 4.2 & 4.3 -Social Emotional Components for details)
  • Parent Liaison Activities; (See Chapter 4 - CFC Support Services, 4.6 & 4.7 - Parent Liaison Activities for details)
  • Developmental Pediatric Consultant Services; (See Chapter 4 - CFC Support Services, 4.4 & 4.5 - Pediatric Consultative Services for details).
  • Local system management Activities;
  • Providing adequate accessible and secure space and facilities to store permanent records, house staff and hold meetings;
  • Selecting, training and supervising qualified staff necessary to carry out the CFCs contractual obligations;
  • Maintaining a directory of non-EI financial resources and support services for use with families;
  • Maintaining permanent records for each child referred for a minimum of six years, in accordance with EI record-keeping requirements; Facilitating Local Interagency Council (LIC) activities (See Chapter 4- CFC Support Services, 4.8 & 4.9 for details);
  • Assisting families in accessing non-EI financial resources and support services by making appropriate referrals while the child is enrolled with the EI Services System and at transition. Children found ineligible should be offered referrals for non-EI community resources prior to case closure;
  • Maintaining administrative and programmatic contact with all EI service providers in the service area;
  • Participating in routine monitoring and technical assistance activities as required by DHS, including on-site monitoring, data collection and reporting obligations, record reviews, financial audits, complaint investigations, and consumer satisfaction surveys, and
  • Submitting data and reports as requested by the state and performing other activities as requested by DHS to assist in system implementation.

3.3 CFC Staff and DCFS Mandated Reporting

As defined in the Early Intervention Services System Act (325 ILCS 20/), CFC staff are mandated reporters of child abuse and/or neglect. If an CFC staff has reasonable cause to believe that a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be abused and/or neglected, it is their responsibility to report the suspected abuse and/or neglect immediately to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). CFC Staff shall report the suspected or alleged abuse and/or neglect by calling the toll-free DCFS Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25A-BUSE. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is not the job of a mandated reporter to determine whether abuse and/or neglect has truly occurred, the reporter only needs reasonable cause to believe abuse and/or neglect has occurred. In the case of a team of people working with the same child and family, the person with the most direct contact and information should be the one filing a report with DCFS.

Things to keep in mind when contacting the DCFS Child Abuse Hotline

Information Needed

  • Name of alleged victim, address, and siblings
  • Relationship of victim to alleged perpetrator
  • Description of abuse and/or neglect
  • Any information that could help expedite the investigation

Your Options

  • You can call just to ask a question
  • You do not have to have all of the information mentioned to make the call
  • You can always call back when you have the additional information
  • The child's/family's words, if any, should be used for any explanation of the abuse and/or neglect

Your Rights

  • Know the Intake worker's full name
  • Reasons the report was not accepted
  • Ask to speak to a supervisor
  • Immunity from legal liability as a result of reports you make in good faith
  • Findings and actions taken as a result of the report
  • Confidentiality as the mandated reporter

It is never easy to report abuse and/or neglect, especially if you know the family. You may not be the only person to recognize abuse or neglect is occurring and that a child is suffering, but you may be the only person to take action to stop the abuse. For training support related to Mandated Reporting and/or Child Abuse, please visit the EITP website at http://eitp.education.illinois.edu/ and look for Beyond Mandated Reporting: Recognizing and Responding to Child Abuse online module.

3.4 Overview of CFC Program Manager Reports

CFC offices are required to submit reports that provide data concerning local system management activities.

3.5  CFC Program Manager Reports Policy

Each CFC Program Manager will:

  • 3.5.1 Report service delays to the DHS EI Program on a monthly basis.
  • 3.5.2 Report Service Coordination Caseload counts on a monthly basis.
  • 3.5.3 Report Family Fee Delinquency Activity on a monthly basis.
  • 3.5.4 Report Transition Referral activity on children referred less than 45 days from third birthday on a monthly basis.
  • 3.5.5 Work with their LIC Coordinator to develop an annual report to include newly established collaborative agreements within their community, address service delays including recruitment of new providers to fill gaps, provide local needs assessments, and child find activities.

3.6 CFC Program Manager Reports Procedure

  • The data for the service delays, the Service Coordination Caseload summary, the Transition Referral activity and the LICs information will be completed in a report format provided by the DHS EI Program. The Family Fee Delinquency report is formatted at the discretion of the CFC Program Manager.

  • 3.6.1 The service delays and transition referral activity will be reported monthly using the DHS-created database. The CFC Program Manager must gather and report electronically the required service delay information for children for which the initial IFSP, six-month review, annual IFSP or specific services are delayed beyond 30 days from parental consent for a service and will record the service delay information on the most current version of the EI Service Delay/Transition Referral Activity Worksheet. The service delay information must be sent via secure CBO webmail no later than the close of business the 15th day of the following month. In the event that the 15th of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, the report must be submitted no later than the close of business of the next business day.
  • 3.6.2 The CFC Program Manager must gather and report electronically the required transition referral activity, as outlined in Chapter 7- Referrals to Child and Family Connections of this manual, for children referred less than 45 days before their third birthday on the most current version of the EI Service Delay/Transition Referral Activity Worksheet. The transition referral activity information must be sent via secure CBO webmail no later than the close of business the 15th day of the following month. In the event that the 15th of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, the report must be submitted no later than the close of business of the next business day.
  • NOTE: Service Delay reporting does not include medical diagnostic or AT services.
  • 3.6.3 The Service Coordination Caseload summary is automated through the Cornerstone system. The CFC Program Manager, or their designee, must complete the AD22 - Employee Expenses to calculate the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Service Coordination positions for the month. Only those Service Coordinators who are credentialed and carrying a caseload should be counted.  Finally the CFC Program Manager does not count towards the CFC FTE Count. In the event no FTE Count is recorded by the CFC in Cornerstone, the CFC will be reported has having 0 staff for the reporting month. The individual Service Coordinator staff information must be updated monthly in Cornerstone no later than the 8th of the following month.
  • 3.6.4 The CFC Program Manager must use the monthly CBO report of Family Fee delinquency to indicate the actions taken to contact families who are showing on the list as delinquent. Reporting can be any method to identify actions taken to contact families at the 30/60/90 days overdue point of the IFSP and activity taken to discontinue services for failure to comply with Family Fee policy. This information is due by the last day of the month of the receipt of the monthly Family Fee Delinquency report and is to be submitted to the EI Family Fee Specialist via fax or secure webmail.
  • 3.6.5 Six weeks after the end of the fiscal year, each CFC Program Manager will submit an annual report on the work of the LIC(s) to address delays in services, provider recruitment and gaps in services due to lack of qualified credentialed/enrolled providers and to coordinate, design and implement child find activities for the CFC office's geographic region.

3.7 CFC Nepotism Standards

To ensure authorizations are issued in accordance with the Provider Selection Policy found within this Chapter, all CFC employees are subject to the following Nepotism policy and procedures. A CFC employee may not issue authorizations, or influence another CFC employee to issue authorization to a) immediate family members and b) individuals who live in his/her household (see 3.6.5 for definition). A CFC employee may issue authorizations to extended family members (see 3.6.6 for definition) as long as the CFC employee discloses the relationship in the CFC Nepotism Disclosure form (NDF), enters into an Individual Nepotism Plan (INP) with the CFC Program Manager, and follows the Provider Selection Policy, as explained below.

  • 3.7.1 At the time of hire and each July 1 thereafter, each CFC employee must complete a NDF. The CFC Program Manager is responsible for reviewing the NDF and the NDF shall be maintained in the employee's employment file.
  • 3.7.2 If a CFC employee discloses an immediate family member or someone who lives in his/her household as an EI provider or owner of an EI provider agency, the CFC employee may not issue authorizations to that EI provider or EI provider agency nor influence another CFC employee to issue authorizations to that EI provider or EI provider agency. The CFC Program Manager is responsible for ensuring such authorizations do not occur. Within 30 days of disclosure, the CFC Program Manager shall provide to the CFC's EI Specialist at the Bureau of EI a copy of each NDF where the CFC employee affirmatively answers that they have an immediate family relationship or someone who lives in his/her household who is an EI provider or owner of an EI agency.
  • 3.7.3 If a CFC employee discloses an extended family member, the CFC Program Manager shall develop a written INP for that CFC employee to ensure compliance with the Provider Selection Policy. The INP shall be submitted for review to the CFC's EI Specialist at the Bureau of EI within 30 days of the disclosure by the CFC employee. The CFC Program Manager must obtain Bureau of EI approval of the INP. The CFC employee will receive a copy of the final INP and the INP shall be maintained in the employee's employment file.
  • 3.7.4 On the first day of the annual CFC Compliance Monitoring, the CFC Program Manager shall provide EI Monitoring with a copy of all NDFs and INPs. EI Monitoring will review this documentation, and review necessary related documentation to ensure compliance.
  • 3.7.5 An "immediate family member" is defined as any of the following relationships by blood: mother/father, son/daughter, and brother/sister. By marriage: husband/wife, stepmother/father, stepson/daughter, brother/sister-in-law, son/daughter-in-law, half-brother/sister, and stepbrother/sister. "Individuals who live in his/her household" include cohabitating couples, significant others, and roommates.
  • 3.7.6 An "extended family member" is defined as any of the following relationships by blood: grandmother/father, grandson/daughter, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, first cousin. By marriage: aunt, uncle, nephew, and niece.

3.8 Provider Selection Policy and Procedures

The CFC shall ensure that Service Coordinators follow the Provider Selection Policy unless a CFC-specific plan of provider selection that has been submitted and approved by the Bureau of EI with written documentation maintained.

Service Coordinators shall provide families with provider choice to the fullest extent possible. CFCs shall require providers to forward a "resume" or "curriculum vitae" to allow CFCs to present this information to families. The Service Coordinator shall never recommend a provider over another based upon personal preference. The final selection of the provider should be the family's based on the individual circumstances of that child/family. The Service Coordinator must ensure that this choice is documented in the child's permanent case record. The choice of providers offered to the family may be limited due to the following:

  • 3.8.1 Initial Evaluating Providers
  • Service Coordinators shall consider the developmental needs of the child for determining any expertise or experience of one evaluator provider over another.
  • If a family does not speak English, the Service Coordinator shall check for a bilingual evaluator provider(s) and interpreters available at Medical Diagnostic Clinics. If a bilingual evaluator provider(s) is available, the family shall be given the list of bilingual evaluator provider(s) to choose from. If no bilingual evaluator providers or interpreters at the Medical Diagnostic Clinic are available, the Service Coordinator must explain the situation to the family and share the list of available interpreters.
  • 3.8.1.1 No single evaluator provider may evaluate a single child as two discipline types.
  • 3.8.1.2 The number of credentialed and enrolled EI evaluator providers in a geographic region may be limited.
  • 3.8.1.3 After these factors are considered, the Service Coordinator shall offer the family all available evaluator providers to perform the initial evaluations/assessments. The CFCs must offer all available evaluator providers and allow the family to choose and rank, in order of preference, 3 to 5 providers (if appropriate) and then contact the evaluator providers in the preference of the family for openings to evaluate/assess the child.
  • 3.8.2 Direct Service Providers
  • 3.8.2.1 Private insurance policies or other payors (for example, DSCC) may require the use of network providers, except as specified in Chapter 10 - Public and Private Insurance Use Determination of the CFC Procedure Manual.
    3.8.2.2 Service Coordinators shall consider the developmental needs of the child for determining any expertise or experience of one service provider over another.
  • 3.8.2.3 If a family does not speak English, the Service Coordinator shall check for a bilingual service provider(s) and interpreters available at Medical Diagnostic Clinics. If a bilingual service provider(s) is available, the family shall be given the list of bilingual service provider(s) to choose from. If no bilingual service providers or interpreters at the Medical Diagnostic Clinic are available, the Service Coordinator must explain the situation to the family and share the list of available interpreters.
  • 3.8.2.4 No single service provider may provide EI services to a single child as two discipline types at the same time.
  • 3.8.2.5 The number of credentialed and enrolled EI service providers in a geographic region may be limited.
  • 3.8.2.6 After these factors are considered, the Service Coordinator shall offer the family all available service providers. The CFCs must offer all available providers and allow the family to choose and rank, in order of preference, 3 to 5 service providers (if appropriate) and then contact the service providers in the preference of the parent for openings to evaluate/assess the child.

Rev. 08/01/2016