Executive Summary

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

Executive Summary 

Since its' last comprehensive review in 2000, Illinois' Part C Early Intervention Program has experienced significant growth and change. Due to focused attention by the Department of Human Services, Bureau of Early Intervention, and incredible efforts at Child Find and screening from many committed stakeholders like the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Division of Specialized Care for Child (DSCC), Department of Public Health (DPH), Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), 10,000 more infants and toddlers are located and provided with critical early intervention services today compared to 10 years ago. Along with this growth, Illinois, like many states, shifted from a center-based, grant-funded service delivery model to a home and community-based, fee-for-service service delivery model.

Both the growth in the EI Program and the shift in the service delivery model, as well as the explosion in our knowledge base related to early learning and development, have magnified the challenges and need for effective communication; improved collaboration and service coordination; efficient and accurate data collection, management, sharing and analysis; appropriate service provision and supervision; and qualitative assessment of child and family outcomes. Illinois has responded to these challenges and needs well, considering their magnitude. In both fiscal years 2009 and 2010, Illinois was determined by the United States Department of Education to meet Part C requirements - an outstanding achievement shared by only one other state in the 7-PAK (representing the largest state Part C Early Intervention programs).

Unfortunately, Illinois cannot continue to respond to today's challenges with outdated data and communication technology. Illinois cannot continue to respond to today's challenges with provider rate structures that do not support the recruitment and retention of culturally and linguistically competent personnel, and Illinois cannot continue to respond to today's challenges with service system structures that create - rather than reduce - barriers to teaming, service coordination and timely and appropriate service delivery.

The recommendations put forward in this report are designed to not only support recommended EI practices, but also provide the necessary foundations to support the long-term growth and fiscal stability of the EI Program.