General Supervision System:
The systems that are in place to ensure that IDEA Part C requirements are met, e.g., monitoring systems, dispute resolution systems.
To ensure compliance with the requirements set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C, the state of Illinois enacted the Early Intervention Services System Act (Act) (325 ILCS20 et. seq.)which establishes a statewide system of coordinated, comprehensive, interagency and interdisciplinary programs to be used in planning, implementation, coordination and evaluation of the statewide system of locally based early intervention services. As authorized and required by the Act, the Illinois Department of Human Services (Department) promulgated detailed rules and regulations to reflect the intent of federal regulations contained in IDEA Part C. They are set forth in the Illinois Administrative Code (89 IL Admin. Code 500 et. seq.)
The Department, in accordance with the Act, serves as Lead Agency with the Bureau of Early Intervention (Bureau) providing staff for the general administration and supervision of programs and activities for the Early Intervention (EI) Program. The Department, through its EI Bureau, sets and disseminates policies and procedures for the provision of EI services through administrative rule, the Child and Family Connections (CFC) Procedure Manual, the EI Provider Handbook, administrative contracts and payee agreements, and the State of Illinois Infant and Toddler and the Family Rights booklet.
Cornerstone is the statewide data system that stores child and family information, generates authorizations for services, and provides interface with other systems to track and produce payments. The Bureau relies extensively on this data system to monitor performance of CFC offices through monthly review of performance measures that are in turn shared with CFC offices. Annually, based on the review of performance measures, the Bureau issues a letter of Findings of Noncompliance and Determinations to each CFC. Accordingly, each CFC office is required to address findings of noncompliance by developing and documenting a corrective action plan (CAP) to be implemented within one year. Additionally, each CFC office had a Determination scorecard base on their performance. Each CFC is evaluated based on the scorecard for purposes of monitoring, technical assistance, training and CAP reporting.
The Illinois EI Monitoring Program (http://www.earlyinterventionmonitoring.org/) conducts monitoring activities of the CFC offices and EI direct service providers. CFC offices and credentialed and/or enrolled service providers are monitored through on and off-site file reviews. In a given year, all 25 CFC offices and approximately 65 percent of the approximately 4,500 EI direct service providers that billed for services during the preceding fiscal year are subject to the compliance monitoring process. Each CFC office receives a focused verification monitoring review at a minimum of once every three years or upon the request of the Bureau. The focused verification monitoring review includes:
- In-depth file review;
- CFC Program Manager and CFC Service Coordinator interview; and
- Family, Service Provider, and Stakeholder surveys
Through file reviews (on and off-site), the EI Monitoring Program assesses compliance with determinations relating to administrative processes and procedures through annual compliance monitoring visits . The number of files to be reviewed is determined by the size of the CFC office's caseload for a one month time period and the number of children transitioning from the EI program during the designated time period. In the course of this review, the EI Monitoring Program identifies areas of noncompliance, documents the correction of noncompliance, and provides technical assistance when required. The provision of technical assistance is an integral part of this monitoring process, and issues can be addressed immediately upon the completion of an onsite monitoring visit.
Annually, 65 percent of the EI service providers receive a compliance monitoring review. EI providers who were previously monitored could be scheduled for subsequent compliance monitoring based upon the outcome of the previous review. The EI Monitoring Program randomly selects 10% of the EI service provider caseload for file reviews for payees with less than 700 cases. EI Providers with caseloads of more than 700 will be monitored annually using a random selection of 5% of their caseloads, with a minimum of 70 files reviewed. The EI Monitoring Program also safeguards the rights of families to receive appropriate services and supports by investigating parent complaints submitted to the Bureau regarding the appropriate billing of services, a thorough review is conducted by examination of EI explanation of benefit statements, based on review, requests reimbursement to the Bureau for services not appropriately billed.
The Department contracts with the EI Central Billing Office (http://www.eicbo.info/) to process paper and electronic service provider claims and create provider claim summaries as part of the fee-for-service delivery system, generate vouchers, submit Medicaid claims to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), prepare and forward claims for federal matching funds. In addition, maintain insurance coverage information, including waivers and exemptions, provide insurance billing services, and invoice, collect and update the family participation fees accounts. They also provide the family with an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), which accounts for all provider claims to families on a monthly basis. The CBO maintains the linkage between EI data systems and Cornerstone for direct service authorizations.
The Department has implemented a statewide system of dispute resolution, including procedures for timely administrative resolution of complaints through mediation, State complaint procedures, and Due Process hearing procedures. The State has chosen to adopt mediation and Due Process procedures in 34 CFR §300.506 through §300.512, and develop procedures that meet the requirements of §303.425. The EI Program has contracts in place with individuals who serve as Impartial Hearing Officers. Legal staff within the Department is available to facilitate the development and negotiation of all resolution session agreements. An electronic database is in place to track Due Process complaints.
Technical Assistance System:
The mechanisms that the State has in place to ensure the timely delivery of high quality, evidenced based technical assistance and support to early intervention service (EIS) programs.
Illinois' system for technical assistance ensures efforts are leveraged among the Bureau and its contract entities. These important partners support the timely delivery of high quality and evidence-based technical assistance. Illinois benefits from its contractual relationship with state and national recognized leaders in early childhood development and education that contribute a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
The provision of technical assistance is a key function in the contracts with the local CFC offices, the EI Training Program, the EI Monitoring Program, EI Clearinghouse, the EI Central Billing Office, and Provider Connections. The Bureau's website and its contractor's websites ensure the availability of Illinois-specific and national information and resources to EI providers, the CFCs, stakeholders and families.
Each CFC office provides technical assistance to its provider community through responses to phone calls and emails, providers meetings, and activities of its Local Interagency Council(s). In addition, each CFC office contracts with a developmental pediatric consultant and also houses a social emotional consultant for specific services to implement quality assurance activities such as periodic participation in IFSP meetings, consultation on requests for IFSP service changes, technical assistance and training to EI providers and services coordinators to address local system needs, and outreach to primary referral sources.
Functions of the EI Monitoring Program and the EI Central Billing Office are described in General Supervision System section, and functions of the EI Training Program, the EI Clearinghouse, and Provider Connections are described in the Professional Development section. All are very important sources of technical assistance for the Illinois EI system. In addition, the EI Training Program's contract includes an ombudsman position. The ombudsman works with the Bureau, CFC offices and EI providers to ensure fidelity with EI laws, rule, policies, practice and procedures, and promotes the highest attainable evidence based practices that support the key principles of Illinois' Early Intervention Program.
Bureau staff meets monthly with CFC managers to provide clarification to policies and procedures and address questions and concerns. EI contractual entities and Bureau staff also meet on a monthly basis to leverage resources, coordinate efforts, and identify additional strategies to meet system needs for technical assistance. Bureau staff provide responses to all inquiries that are directed by CFC offices and EI Providers, or that come directly to Bureau, usually via the telephone or email. Informational memos are posted on all available EI websites and distributed via email to CFC managers.
The Bureau has received technical assistance from a number of national and regional resources, including the Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association, the North Central Regional Resource Center (NCRRC), the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the Center for IDEA Early Childhood data Systems (DaSy), the IDEA Data Center (IDC), the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), and the Office of Special Education Programs. NCRRC and NCSI have provided considerable support during the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) process.
Professional Development System:
The mechanisms the State has in place to ensure that service providers are effectively providing services that improve results for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
The Early Intervention Services System Act (Act) (325 ILCS20 et. seq.) and the Illinois Administrative Code (89 IL Admin. Code 500 et. seq.) require and define a system of personnel development and personnel standards to ensure that EI providers are effectively providing services that improve results for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. EI families, service providers, and primary referral sources have access to a wealth of information provided through various EI specific websites, and online and face-to-face training opportunities.
Illinois uses the EI Provider Connections office (http://www.wiu.edu/ProviderConnections/) which coordinates the credentialing process with enrollment of service providers and verifies compliance with state and federal requirements. EI Provider Connections processes credential and enrollment applications and maintains a system of credentialing which ensures new providers are qualified and prepared with appropriate pediatric experience and education to provide services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. This office ensures that individuals providing EI services have documentation on file of all applicable licenses, degrees, education and/or certification, EI systems overview training, background checks, documentation of consultation, and other requirements. In addition, they provide technical assistance on the credential and enrollment process and verify that the individuals maintain competencies through documentation of continuing professional education and ongoing professional development at credential renewal which is required every 3 years.
Illinois contracts with the University of Illinois Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) (http://eitp.education.illinois.edu/) to provide a comprehensive system of personnel development, using a variety of methodology that includes face-to-face and online training modules, and coordinates with other entities to offer a broad calendar of EI training events. These efforts ensure that service providers and CFC staff enter the EI system with an understanding of the basic components of the EI services system, evidence based practices and Illinois' EI key principles. Additional and ongoing efforts are in place to focus on continuously expand competencies and provide information on evidence-based practices, specifically in four core knowledge areas of development of young children, working with families of young children with developmental disabilities and delays, innovative strategies and activities for young children with special needs, and assessment of young children with special needs. The EITP also works in coordinating with other entities to provide training on transition services for children exiting the EI system. The EI Training Program develops, publishes and distributes a quarterly newsletter for EI service providers in addition, to providing support to families and CFCs on the Child and Family Outcomes process. The EITP coordinates the family outcome process which includes a project coordinator that compiles and mails surveys to all families who have exited the EI program and upon request, assist families in completing the survey. The coordinator also facilitates the Child and Family Outcomes Workgroup and represents the EI program on all child and family outcomes activities.
The EI Clearinghouse (http://www.eiclearinghouse.org/) collects research-based and best-practice early intervention information to share with families to support their children's growth and development. They provide current, up-to-date information and reference materials for parents to use to learn more about normal development and specific disabilities and by educators and EI professionals to maintain evidence based practices and improve competencies in the evaluation and treatment of children with developmental disabilities and delays. Additional resources in English and in Spanish are available to EI families, providers, and primary referral source. They are tasked with maintaining Illinois' EI Central Directory, operate and maintain a free EI lending library, generate parent newsletters and information notes, podcasts, resources links to support evidence-based practices, and general contact and program information. The EI Clearinghouse serves as a communication link between the EI Program and the families served by the program through a web-site and many other resources related to early intervention issues.
Stakeholder Involvement: This is applied to all Part C results indicators
The mechanism for soliciting broad stakeholder input on targets in the SPP, including revisions to targets.
Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention (IICEI):
The IICEI is a Governor-appointed advisory board that meets the federal requirements for a State Interagency Coordinating Council. The membership of the council includes parents, public and private service providers of the Early Intervention (EI) system, a member from the State legislature, a personnel preparation representative, and representatives from various designated State agencies and programs. Its membership also includes representatives from advocate organizations, Child and Family Connections (CFC) managers, and a designee from the Illinois Early Learning Council. The IICEI discusses challenges and opportunities for the Bureau, reviews and approves the annual progress report (APR), helps determine the setting of APR of target values, and advises the Bureau in the performance of the program.
Service Delivery Approaches Workgroup:
The Service Deliver Approaches Workgroup, a subcommittee of the IICEI, commenced in May of 2011 and concluded in the Spring of 2015. The workgroup was comprised of early intervention stakeholders, parents, service coordinators, CFC managers, service providers, state associations representatives, advocacy organization representatives, IICEI members, Infant Mental health Association representatives, a regional resource center representative, and an early intervention researcher. This workgroup was formed to align with the EI Taskforce recommendations and was tasked with providing recommendations on the below:
- Examine/investigate approaches to EI service delivery that facilitate teaming and communication;
- Develop and present recommendations for adopting a service delivery approach for early intervention services in Illinois; and
- Design specific steps needed to implement the recommended service delivery approach for early intervention services in Illinois, including a timeline for a phased in implementation.
Recommendations were approved by the IICEI and submitted to the Bureau for consideration at the July 2015 IICEI's meeting.
Child and Family Outcomes Workgroup:
The Child and Family Outcomes workgroup is a stakeholder group tasked with the goal to improve outcomes for children and families, as well as to improve the quality of child and family outcomes data. The workgroup includes representation from components of the EI Bureau staff, EI providers, CFC Managers, Part B and C Training Program, EI Ombudsman and the EI monitoring Program.
The Child and Family Outcomes Workgroup target its efforts to:
Ensure that valid and reliable data are collected with consistency by field staff; Improve the validity of data reported on child and family outcomes;
- Improve response rates for Family Outcomes surveys, to increase representativeness and validity; Promote public awareness and training of child and family outcome measures;
- Explore options for linking child and family outcome data; Support data review and analysis;
- Set baseline and target values; and
- Develop and implement improvement activities.
Illinois has 25 CFC offices that serve as the regional intake entities and each CFC office is responsible for implementation of the Early Intervention Services System within its specific geographic region. CFCs are responsible for ensuring all referrals to the Early Intervention Services System receive a timely response in a professional and family-centered manner. Other responsibilities of the CFCs include: child find activities;
families intake; coordination of evaluation and eligibility determinations for children; oversight of the development of individualized service plans (IFSP); ongoing service coordination, and transitioning activities before a toddler reaches three years of age. CFC managers meet monthly with EI Bureau staff to review policy and procedures, provide statewide perspectives, feedback to the APR, identification of challenges of the system, and input of improvement strategies.
Reporting to the Public:
How and where the State reported to the public on the FFY 2012 performance of each EIS Program or Provider located in the State on the targets in the SPP/APR as soon as practicable, but no later than 120 days following the State's submission of its FFY 2012 APR, as required by 34 CFR §300.602(b)(1)(i)(A); and a description of where, on its Web site, a complete copy of the State's SPP, including any revision if the State has revised the SPP that it submitted with its FFY 2012 APR in 2014, is available.
Illinois Annual Performance Report (APR) and State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) (Phase I) reports are used to report annually to the public on EI performance targets.
The Illinois Interagency Council for Early Intervention (IICEI) is the principle stakeholder group that reviews and provides the final approval of the APR. The APR is posted on the Department's website no later than 120 days following the State's submission. A hard copy of the APR is also available for public review at each of the 25 CFC offices.
Each APR indicator includes a table that compares the performance of each CFC office with statewide performance and target values.
The Illinois APR, SSIP, 618 data, Annual Federal Grant Applications, and Monthly Statistical reports are available online at https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=36192. The EI Training Program website has links to the EI Reports and informational notices located at