April 1, 2021 - Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention


Open to the general public.


10:00am to 1:00pm


Due to the current pandemic, this meeting will be held by Zoom teleconferencing. To participate, please utilize the link below provided by EI Training to register for the meeting.


Once you register, you will be provided with an immediate confirmation, that will indicate Zoom participation information will be forthcoming. You will receive an email with specific access instructions and your unique Zoom link closer to the meeting date.


  • Call to Order
  • Introduction of Council Members
  • Approval January 14, 2021 Draft Meeting Report
  • Re-Open EI Workgroup Update
  • Telehealth Workgroup Update
  • Communication Workgroup Update
  • Equity & Access Workgroup Update
  • Prenatal to Three Initiative (PN3) Workgroup Update
  • Preschool Development Grant Birth to 5
  • Funding Commission
  • Ongoing Updates
    • IMPACT
    • Cornerstone/EI Data Management System
    • Bureau
    • Digital Signatures
  • Annual Performance Report (APR)/State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)
  • Legislation
  • Adjournment of Meeting

Meeting Report


  •  Esther Beard, Advocate Representative
  • Meghan Burke, Parent Representative
  • Benny Delgado, Provider Representative
  • Brenda Devito, Clearbrook, Chairperson
  • Christine Doyle Morrison, Provider Representative
  • Donna Emmons, Head Start Representative
  • Chuck Farr, Child & Family Connections (CFC) 13 Program Manager, Rural Representative
  • Ann Freiburg, IDHS, Chief, Bureau of Early Intervention
  • Lynnette DeGraffenreid, Provider Representative
  • Jennifer Gentile, IL Dept. of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Tracy Gunderson, Provider Representative
  • Margaret Harkness, IL Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Vicki Hodges, ISBE, McKinney-Vento, Homeless Representative
  • Dee Dee Lowery, CFC 1 Program Manager, Urban Representative
  • Ginger Mullin, IL Dept. of Public Health
  • Lori Orr, Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development
  • Nisha Sanghvi, Provider Representative
  • Amy Santos, Personnel Preparation Representative
  • Angel Williams, IL Dept. of Child and Family Services
  • Amy Zimmerman, Advocate Representative


  • Michelle Baldock, IL Dept. of Insurance
  • Kelly Cunningham, IL Dept. of Healthcare & Family Services
  • Kisha Davis, IL Dept. of Human Services, Bureau of Subsidy Mgmt. (Child Care)
  • Kristy Doan, IL State Board of Education
  • Rosie Perez, Parent Representative
  • Shelly Roat, IL Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)
  • Becca Trevino, Parent Representative
  • Constance Williams, Ph.D., IDHS, Division of Mental Health

Council Packet Contents

  • Agenda
  • Draft Council Meeting Report - January 14, 2021 Meeting
  • ReOpen Early Intervention Workgroup Update
    • ReOpen Workgroup Partners Update
  • Telehealth Workgroup Update
  • Communications Workgroup Update
    • Proposed Workgroup Template
  • Prenatal to Three Initiative (PN3) Workgroup Update
  • *Early Intervention Program Caseload Summary Report for:
    • December 2020 - February 2021
      *Due to issues pulling certain fields in C'Stone, this report includes several areas that indicate 0% in cells listed for 12/20 - 02/21 in the following categories,
      • % Service Delay: All Forms
      • Average Days to Initial IFSP Under 1 Participation Rate
      • % of IFSP Closings w/o Referrals or Special Ed. Eligibility Determined

1) Call to Order

Brenda Devito, Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention Chairperson, called the meeting to order at 10:02 am

2) Introductions of Council Members

Members introduced themselves and stated their agency/role on the Council.

3) Approval of the January 14, 2021 Draft Meeting Report

Donna made a motion to approve the minutes. Nisha seconded. Motion passed.

4) Re-Open Workgroup Update

Dee Dee Lowery and Lori Orr shared information about the activities of the Re-Open Workgroup. They continue to focus on issues that arise related to the pandemic. Data is monitored so that we know how the system is responding. The data has shown a decrease in service delays, but also that more families are leaving the system. Many children are being served via LVV. The workgroup continues to work with IDPH to make recommendations about how to safely operate. We have shared information on vaccines and increasing numbers able to be served in-person. EITP sent out a survey to gauge the field's readiness for increasing in-person services and vaccine access. As of today, providers can now serve 20 in-person families. The workgroup has also focused on improving communications with families so that they are aware of system changes. The Clearinghouse has played a vital role in this effort. The last meeting focused on the work of the EI Partners during the pandemic. The workgroup will continue to respond to changing circumstances as they arise. Brenda shared how phenomenal the work of everyone has been during these challenging times. So much effort has gone into making sure children and families are served. Ann thanked everyone for their help during this time.

5) Telehealth Workgroup Update

Meghan Burke reported that they are working to collect more systematic data about family experiences with Live Video Visits (LVVs) to understand experiences and inform next steps. There is a survey going out to families right now. They would appreciate everyone sharing this link with their networks. The newer survey digs a little deeper into the nuances of LVVs, so they are hoping that it provides more data about what is happening with families.

Benny said that another focus of this workgroup has been legislation and invited Amy Z. to share more about this. Amy Z. shared that they have been working to propose legislation which would provide for the continuation of telehealth past the pandemic. There is a House bill that has been proposed and amended. The Senate is working on creating a bill as well. Amy asked Ann to share what can be done in regard to continuing telehealth if the legislation doesn't pass. Ann says that her hope is that telehealth will continue in the future.

Brenda asked if there were additional efforts underway to increase technology access for families. The Clearinghouse continues to look for other funding opportunities to support both devices and data plans. Benny reiterated that we know the demand outweighs the supply and wonders if there are things that the Bureau can do to increase access. Amy Z. asked if any of the American Rescue Act funds could be directed towards devices and internet access. Ann reported that we are still awaiting guidance for how those additional funds can be used. Lori shared that some Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding will be allocated for technology and ensuring that materials are available in multiple languages. We do not have the amounts yet, but there is a webinar later today that may provide more information. She will put the link in the chat. She thanked all who were involved in pulling together information for the proposal to the Governor. Brenda asked that Amy Z. keep Council members aware of opportunities for advocacy as legislation moves forward.

6) Communications Workgroup Update

Nisha Sanghvi and Christy Morrison shared that they continue to seek feedback from those in the field, focusing on all stakeholders and areas of the state. They continue to direct people to available information sources, e.g. Provider Connections, Clearinghouse, question email, and CFCs. They would like the Council to think about how Zoom can be used to support attendees' access moving forward, even if Council members are attending meetings in person.

They have worked on a template for workgroup's reporting that includes the charge of the workgroup, CFC representation, and stakeholder representation so that people know who is involved on the various workgroups. Brenda directed Council members to the material in the packet to see if they were comfortable sharing similar information about their workgroups on the DHS website. Benny and Meghan feel that this is an important step for transparency. Margaret asked what the vision was for feedback. Christy shared that it would help answer questions about who is making the recommendations. Showing who the workgroup members are can help with stakeholders' understanding. Margie is wondering if a more centralized depository for questions rather than individual contacts would be helpful. Although the questions email is good for general concerns, individual contacts may be more suitable for specific workgroup questions so that they don't' overload the Bureau or have to wait for information to be forwarded to them. Ann said that it could be possible to create a more generic email for the Council- if that would be helpful. Angel expressed concern about different chairs having varying amounts of time available for responding about Council activities. Benny suggested creating a place to collect feedback. This could help give people a place to share information and a way for chairs to have broader feedback for decision-making. Christy acknowledged that the template wouldn't solve all of these issues, but it helps demystify who is being involved in decision-making. DeeDee reminded everyone of the advisory nature of Council work. Although it is important to be responsive, not all workgroup recommendations will necessarily be enacted. Nisha also talked about their group's work on an infographic to help stakeholders better understand how the pieces of the system interact with each other. Benny stressed the importance of members not just representing their own perspectives but also utilizing feedback/ input they receive from others. Angel reiterated that in all interactions, it needs to be clear to those who reach out that Council members provide advice and do not make the decisions. Brenda asked chairs for their comfort with the proposed template or if they need more time for consideration. Nisha said that they are open to suggestions for modification as well, particularly in regard to the advisory role of the Council. Christy asked that chairs begin to work on a similar template for their groups and stated that Communications will work on the additional pieces to be included.

Workgroup would also like information to be shared about how the new data system might support improved communication. Amy Z asked about the status of the data system RFP. Ann says that it is still in process with the procurement office. She is limited on what can be shared as it is still an active procurement process.

7) Equity & Access Workgroup Update

Angel Williams shared that this workgroup met this past Monday. She was really encouraged by the energy and the initial ideas that were presented. Members have been sharing information and resources to guide their work. Their hope is to increase equity and access to early intervention for all children and families. In particular, they hope to identify and resolve barriers to equitable access. Angel says that there are additional opportunities for people to get involved. Several participants complimented Angel on her stellar facilitation skills. Amy asked Angel to share a few things that were discussed. Angel said they talked about the importance of defining equity and access, avoiding redundancies with other efforts, clarifying why we lose families from early intervention, finding ways to include family voice, and expanding ideas about dimensions of diversity.

8) Prenatal to Three Initiative (PN3) Workgroup Update

Esther shared that within the PN3 report there are a series of recommendations specific to early intervention. These recommendations are divided across a variety of areas. The idea behind PN3 is to create policy that impacts these areas. Need to think about how this workgroup fits with other aspects of PN3 work. Margie shared that the workgroup has only met once and is sifting through existing information, learning about what is occurring beyond early intervention, and determining which pieces the Council wants to prioritize for the Bureau. The workgroup began by sharing updates on items in the plan.

Some items discussed were changes related to eligibility, automating the referral process to improve access when the new data system gets introduced, public awareness efforts around lead eligibility, and collecting additional data on, and planning for, continued use of telehealth. A searchable, centralized database for providers who are willing to serve families across the state via LVV could be useful, so could this be considered for the new database? Ann responded that some of these priorities are already being considered for action. Benny reminded the Council that the overall goal of PN3 is to increase the number of children being served. The recommendations are intended to help the system plan for this growth. Being able to automate provider availability may be an important step to consider.

Brenda asked Ann what the Bureau needs from this workgroup. Ann shared that it will be important for them to consider prioritizing and identifying ways that recommendations might be accomplished. Lori shared some information about PDG efforts to track mental health providers and their availability through a system with Gateways. Benny hopes that there are lessons they have learned that early intervention can use to inform our efforts. He said we also need to be considering both additional recruitment and retention of providers. We need to understand better providers' length of time in the system and what impacts whether they stay or not. Tracy echoed his concerns. Brenda asked about money related to marketing of early intervention. Ann shared that through some reorganization within DHS, there may be additional opportunities to support improved communication.

9) Preschool Development Grant (PDG) and Governor's Office Updates

Lori Orr shared that the Early Learning Council has established a family advisory committee, half of which have interest in special education. The committee is going through orientation and training with launch planned for May. You can find dates of their meetings on the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) website. Early Choices is starting a Community of Practice focusing on inclusion. Have 49 participants planned so far. The infant mental health database will be launched soon and will serve as a statewide hub for sharing information and announcements with this group.

10) Funding Commission

Ann reported that the final recommendations were presented. They are posted on the GOECD website. The role of the commission was to determine the funding needs for a comprehensive early childhood system. The Council and the Bureau should review recommendations.

11) Ongoing Updates

  1. Illinois Medicaid Program Advanced Cloud Technology
    Ann reported that not much has changed here. Most of the work has been on cleaning up errors and determining why some of our services are not being paid. This is primarily behind-the-scenes work that should not impact providers' billing.
  2. Cornerstone
    Ann shared that we continue to utilize Cornerstone until we have the new data system procured and planned. Brenda asked about the timeline for implementing the new system. Ann is hopeful that it is implemented within 4-6 months after system is determined. This is a best guess and is dependent on many variables.
  3. Bureau
    Continue working on determining additional staff needs and filling vacancies. Amy asked if the Bureau would be surveying the field about needs to inform new Bureau positions. Ann can take this to Bethany, but her current plan has already been based on feedback from the field and the needs that have been shared with the Bureau. The Bureau has also officially launched into equity work. Initial planning is just getting started, but Ann expects the Council's equity and access workgroup to support these efforts. Last year, OSEP offered a grant focused on retention of qualified early intervention providers. We weren't able to put pieces together for this year, but planning continues in order to be prepared for the next offering. She sees this effort as aligning nicely with PN3 and other bodies of work.
  4. Digital Signatures
    Working on efforts with DocuSign to get all of our documents prepared. Jenni and Heather guiding these efforts. Have engaged some pilots to begin training. Don't have a clear timeline on how quickly we will have this ready but anticipate it will be faster than the 12 weeks that DocuSign projected. This is mostly due to the preparatory work that had already been completed. On April 13th, they will make the "go live" decisions. There are many details to still be decided, but they are moving as quickly as possible. Benny asked again about the possibility of providers accessing this system to contain costs and help with provider retention. Ann has no clear answer on this right now, but she is aware of the need.

12) Annual Performance Report (APR)/State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)

Ann reported that the APR was submitted timely in February. Have set up a phone call to talk to our OSEP contact about clarifications needed. Will know more once those are released. SSIP was submitted a day early. As a reminder, SSIP works on improving child outcomes and family engagement. Currently, SSIP is submitted at a later date even though it is Indicator 11 of the APR. Next year, both submissions will be due at the same time (February). We were asked to indicate in both reports the impact of COVID on our data and performance. We let them know that it had a minor impact on SFY20 data, but that we expect to see more of an impact on the SFY21 data. Next year we need to submit new State Performance Plan (SPP) that includes revised targets. Will begin this planning at the July Council meeting. We used the format of the SSIP template but could not use the template itself due to character and table limitations. Will be required to use the template next year, so we have sent some feedback to OSEP about the need for potential changes. Brenda reminded everyone that the Council has an integral role in the target setting for the SPP.

13) Legislation

Ann shared that there is legislation promoting an extended Part C option. Would be offering services for children turning 3 between May 1st and August 31st. This begins July 1, 2022. The Bureau will begin its planning now that the SSIP has been submitted. Currently only Maryland and Washington DC utilize this option. We will seek technical assistance from the Office of Special Education Programs for the pieces that need to be in place for implementation and to access the federal funding available. Pieces will need to be in place prior to our next application being submitted. Requires quite a bit of coordination with Part B 619. Benny is excited for this option as he sees this being really helpful for children and families with summer birthdays. Amy Z encouraged Council members to reach out and thank legislative members who had a role in this legislation's passage.

This legislation also included expanded look at social-emotional eligibility, work with primary referral sources, and use of specialized teams for certain populations of children. Also, there is pending legislation for a rate increase. Many of these efforts attempt to improve access. Lynnette wanted to mention that she has heard about family challenges with accessing early intervention services when living in a domestic violence shelter. She wants to be sure that these needs are considered in the equity and access work.

14) Adjournment

 Christy motioned to adjourn. Nisha seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 1:00

Contact Information

Jenni Grissom
IDHS - Bureau of Early Intervention
823 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Ph: 217/524-1596

Email: jennifer.grissom@illinois.gov

If you are need of special accommodations, please email or call Jenni Grissom.