Early Intervention services are available in Illinois for children from birth to age three who demonstrate a developmental delay or who are diagnosed with a developmental disability. These services are accessed through Child & Family Connections agencies located throughout the state. There are 25 agencies statewide to provide intake, determine eligibility, and connect children to Service Providers. These providers include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists and many other professionals to help the meet the individual needs of each child.
After a child’s eligibility for Early Intervention services has been determined, a service coordinator assists the family in the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP is a unique, high specialized, individual plan based upon each child’s area(s) of special need. An IFSP is only for children ages 0-3. Upon your child turning 3, the IFSP can be used as a tool in the development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) if the child remains eligible for services.
What to do if your child is not accepted as eligible for EI services?
You can find the Child & Family Connections Agency for your county or zip code at: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?module=12. Choose “Early Intervention” as the Service Type, and the county in which you live. Child & Family Connections Agencies are also listed by county on the Illinois Life Span website. See Resources by County.
Family Fees are payments by families for Early Intervention (EI) services that are subject to fees. Not all EI services are subject to fees. You can find a detailed list of services subject to fees in the Family Fee Report you receive from your service coordinator. The Early Intervention Program requires that families who are able to help pay for their child and family’s EI services do so. Families who are on Medicaid/All Kids or WIC, or whose income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level are not required to pay a fee. The Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) requirement does not apply to Early Intervention. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says the EI services must be “provided at no cost except where Federal or State law provides for a system of payments by families, including a schedule of sliding fees” (Section 632(B))
Some out of pocket expenses may be counted as a tax deduction for those who qualify. Discuss this issue with your tax professional.
The Illinois State Board of Education in conjunction with the Department of Human and Family Services has a workbook titled, When I’m 3 Where Will I Be? This is a tool to help families with the transition from Early Intervention services to services provided through the local school district.