January 14, 2010 - Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention Meeting Report

10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Crowne Plaza, 3000 Dirksen Parkway ~ Springfield, Illinois


Gerri Clark, Division of Specialized Care for Children

Bob Cammarata, ICG Health Care Services

Deborah Saunders, IL Dept of Healthcare and Family Services

Deanna Pratcher, parent, Thornton

Pam Reising Rechner for Kay Henderson, IL State Board of Education

Dorelia Rivera-Martinez, Elmwood

Kathy Schrock, Easter Seals DuPage and Fox Valley

Gail Tanner, Illinois Dept of Public Health

Therese Wehman, Elmhurst College


Andria Goss, IL Department of Children and Family Services

Janet Gully, DHS, Bureau of Early Intervention

Beatrice Nichols, IICEI Chairperson, Head Start

Representative Julie Hamos

Mary Petersen, DFPR, Division of Insurance

Karrie Potter, parent, Neoga

Sandy Ryan, IL Council on Developmental Disabilities

David Rubovits, PhD, Jewish Child and Family Services

Linda Saterfield, DHS, Bureau of Child Care and Development

Myrtis Sullivan, DHS, Division of Community Health and Prevention

Connie Sims, DHS, Division of Developmental Disabilities

Joyce Smith, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House

 Contents of Council Packet:

  • Agenda
  • Lead Agency Report - January 14, 2010
  • Draft Report from October 1, 2009
  • Reports from CFCs 14, 19, 22
  • Updated Council Report Listing
  • Council Meeting Dates for 2010
  • Draft Annual Performance Report

1) Call to Order

The Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention convened at 10:07 a.m.

2) Introduction of Council Members

Council members introduced themselves. Deanna Pratscher chaired the meeting in Beatrice Nichols' absence.

3) Approval of October 1, 2009 Meeting Report

The October 1, 2009 Meeting Report was approved as written. Several comments from the last meeting were considered.

  • Janet Gully offered to talk with the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) regarding a waiver to the natural environment requirement for services provided to children living in unsafe neighborhoods. She discussed this with OSEP staff during several conference calls, as well as at an OSEP conference. OSEP confirmed that there are no circumstances under which the natural environment requirement can be waived. Janet will follow up with the Wisconsin Early Intervention (EI) program, which has an initiative in Milwaukee related to providing services in unsafe neighborhoods, and with Tennessee.
  • No follow-up report could be provided to the following statement from the October 1, 2009 meeting notes, "Janet will also get feedback from other states on strategies to "go green" and move toward a primarily paperless system."
  • Kathy Schrock noted that there had been no action by the Finance Work Group to the comment, "It was requested that the Finance Work Group take a look at some of the issues that the CFC managers presented. "

4) Child and Family Connections Offices Reports

Child and Family Connections (CFC) managers from offices 14, 19 and 22 provided an overview of major accomplishments/successes, challenges, and issues/situations for DHS to be aware of. Highlights of this discussion include the following.


  • Able to meet the 45-day timeline (average 28 days) because of good working relationship with providers
  • The CFC schedules fun family activities and regular workshops on topics requested by families
  • Parent liaison develops parent packets, including a calendar with CFC children's pictures and lists of fun activities and providers
  • On their own time, staff collect and deliver gifts for needy families at the holidays
  • Collaborate with community; the LIC is growing; agreements with other programs are signed
  • Promote referrals through speaking at Early Childhood programs at local colleges
  • Once a month, special education students from a local high school pack intake bags
  • Participate on transition guidance committee; worked on transition booklet
  • Expanded screening efforts to monthly screenings at 15 sites throughout 3 counties
  • Collaborate with school district and health department screenings
  • Use database to query staff performance
  • Family surveys indicate satisfaction
  • Coordinate/provide training; survey LIC for needs; bring in speakers
  • Staff "love their job and love what they do."
  • CFCs have experience low turnover rates
  • Staff support each other to better serve families
  • Sponsor public awareness activities
  • Coordinate with local school districts for screenings; go to day care centers
  • Work well with providers and school districts
  • Providers go "above and beyond" and work well with CFC
  • The CFC has a good group of service coordinators that have been with the CFC a long time; means that providers deal with the same folks
  • The fiscal agency supports the CFC 100%
  • Service delays are minimal, even though there are few providers in the area


  • Biggest challenge is natural environment
  • Area needs more speech therapists (and sometime physical therapists) to provide direct services
  • Providers have become unhappy and frustrated as a result of delays in payments. Some have decided not to take new referrals/evaluations or have dropped out completely.
  • Recruitment of new providers has been difficult
  • Providers having to travel to homes a problem in rural counties
  • Some providers taking part-time jobs, but continue to work with EI
  • In some areas, children have to travel to clinics as no in-home services are available
  • Managers should be given more ability to fix errors in Cornerstone
  • Cost of initial evaluations are too high; billing time should be documented with a start and stop time
  • Recruitment is difficult in rural areas
  • Hope to fill parent liaison position soon
  • Addressing the under age 1 participation rate has been a challenge
  • Two areas to concentrate on for the future include the EI vision and the provision of appropriate services. The system should be held responsible when children do not meet objectives.

Comments/Questions from Council Members

  • Happy to hear about staff retention and training.
  • Appreciate creative approaches to addressing natural environments
  • Applaud community coordination of services, efforts of staff beyond Early Intervention work, and parent involvement at LIC meeting and other events.
  • The CFC 14 web site is in the Peoria County site (http://www.co.peoria.il.us/) under Care for Developmental Disabilities.
  • In response a question, the CFC manager identified that the delay list is the most important issue and that kids need to get services even if they are going to an agency.
  • The CFC was complimented for its good quality assurance approach. It was recognized that other CFCs have similar databases.
  • In response to concern about the high cost of evaluations, the CFC manager suggested doing a screening instead of a full evaluation every three months, as requested by parents.
  • CFC manager thought that her staff, who have an education background, would be able to conduct initial global evaluations, recognizing that training would be needed for those how do not have the necessary experience.
  • Having service coordinators do the global evaluation would be cost effective and would not take that much time.
  • It was recognized that not all service coordinators are qualified to perform global evaluations, and it would be difficult to universally implement this process.
  • Make sure that the EI vision is shared with families.
  • Parent participation was discussed. Issues and strategies related to services in day care centers were considered. It was suggested that the Council hear from providers about what works to engage families. Providers need to infuse activities into the family's daily routines.
  • There are problems with the EI system being predicated on a business model, which promotes the provision of more services.
  • Achievements in EI system were recognized.
  • To help lower the costs of evaluations/assessments, the CFC informed providers that a 6-month summary is sufficient, allowing for assessment when appropriate.
  • Collecting data about parent participation was suggested. It was recognized that, if parents feel like their needs are being met, they would become more involved. This should be included in training sessions. The CFC manager suggested that service coordinators ask families more direct question about therapies during the monthly contact. A suggestion for a work group to discuss strategies for a pilot for data collection about parent participation will be given to the Janet Gully and the Council Chair, Beatrice Nichols. Membership would be determined if a decision was made to proceed. (After the meeting Jenese Birk-Huebner, CFC #21 manager, and Deanna Pratscher provided their names for this work group.) It was suggested that the parent perspective be considered in this pilot. Coordination/inclusion of the family outcomes survey work should be considered.

5) Work Group Reports

* Finance Work Group

Kathy Schrock provided a report on the Finance Work Group. Payment delays and their impact on providers were discussed. Providers are leaving the system or changing their time commitment to it. Although it would be helpful to have information on the number of providers leaving the system, it is not available. Referrals are down a little, so service delays have not been as affected. Influences on program enrollment and the needs of independent providers in the areas of advocacy and information were discussed. The Finance Work Group is considering is what needs to be done differently to sustain the system five years from now.

* Outcomes Work Group

Nyle Robinson reported on the work of the Outcomes Work Group, which met to review family and child outcome data and identify steps that come from the data. The family outcomes survey is being altered to make it less intimidating. In the 2/1/10 APR submission, goals will be set for child outcomes. Issues regarding representation of the sample were discussed, along its impact on the data. The impact of the economy of family outcome results was considered.

In response to a suggestion from a council member, Nyle reported that there might be some parts of the family survey that could be considered when determining family participation in services. The survey might be a reasonable format to add a few questions. It was suggested that the proposed work group also consider a more regional/CFC area approach to collecting this data, rather than relying on the family outcome survey process.

Concerns were shared about the responses from Hispanic families relative to other groups. Nyle explained that other states have experienced the same problems. A suggestion was made to have a work group of the Council address this issue and services to the Spanish speaking population in general. It was recognized that the APR includes the following improvement activity, "By June 30, 2010, the IICEI will create a work group to study issues that prevent good outcomes for Hispanic children and families. This group will issue an initial report no later than December 31, 2010." A suggestion for a work group to discuss services and outcomes for Hispanic families in the Early Intervention Program will be given to the Janet Gully and the Council Chair, Beatrice Nichols.

Deborah Saunders asked about the use of telephone surveys to improve the number of family responding to the family survey. IL Dept of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has had some success with this strategy, which she will talk with Nyle about.

* Service Delay Work Group

Bob Cammarata reported on the work of the Service Delay Work Group. The work group provided input to the posting of the ombudsman position. Bob provided an overview of the group's work during the last year, beginning with it focus on specific geographic areas, including the Rockford community. The work group continues it work on a description of the integrated team approach. The document will be shared with CFC managers for input and should be ready for the Council at its next meeting. Dee Dee Lowery, a work group member and CFC 1 manager, reported on recent efforts in her area to pilot an integrated team approach for children, when appropriate. Recent efforts involve 3 families.

6) Lead Agency Report

Filling in for Janet Gully who had been called away from the office for jury duty, Eileen DeRoze provided an update on the EI Taskforce. Membership to the Taskforce is defined in HJR50. Letter to prospective members were to go out this week, with membership reflecting diversity in gender, ethnicity and geography. The first meeting is scheduled and the Taskforce will report to the General Assembly by June 30, 2010. Concerns about the coordination between the Taskforce and the Council were raised. Both groups are advisory to the Bureau. The Bureau will be responsible for ensuring good communication between the groups. Three Council members are included in the Taskforce membership.

Ted Burke provided background on the role of the system ombudsman position and the selection process. The chosen candidate, Chelsea Guillen, was announced. Ted shared information about Ms. Guillen's involvement with the EI system over the years and the expertise that she brings to the table as system ombudsman.

The Annual Performance Report (APR) summary was reviewed. Indicators 3 and 4 had been discussed in more detail in the Outcomes Work Group report. The Council was given the opportunity to provide comments and ask questions. The role of the State Board of Education in addressing transition issues and the progress the state has made as a result of this collaboration were recognized, with specific thanks going to Pam Reising Rechner and Scott Beever.

Lack of progress increasing the under age 1 participation rate were discussed. Deborah Saunders suggested that HFS might be able to work with EI on this issue.

7) Adjournment

Dorelia Rivera applauded providers that participated in a recent rally at the Capital. Organization of other efforts, including call-in days and on-line groups, were also identified as helpful grass root efforts.

The meeting adjourned at 12:52 p.m.