Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

IDEA Part C Early Intervention Family Survey Data for FFY2016

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What are the Part C Family Data?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds state Part C programs to provide early intervention services to support infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. All states and jurisdictions receiving Part C funding are required to report data annually to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education on the percentage of families who agreed that early intervention has helped their family know their rights, effectively communicate their child's needs, and help them help their child develop and learn.

How Do States Collect Data From Families?

All states collect family data using a survey, although the specific survey items and methods for collection vary. Three survey tools are commonly used by states to collect family data: the ECO Family Outcomes Survey - Original, the ECO Family Outcomes Survey - Revised, and the NCSEAM Family Survey. Some states have developed their own survey.

States distribute and collect their surveys using different methods, including in-person, mail, online, and telephone. Some states survey a sample or subset of families, while others survey all families in the program each year. Regardless of approach, each state must collect this information with the greatest possible accuracy and completeness.

What Do the Data Show?

The great majority of families indicate that early intervention has been helpful to them with knowing their rights, communicating their child's needs, and helping their child develop and learn.

Percentage of Families that Reported that Early Intervention Helped Them
Know their rights 90%
Communicate children's needs 91%
Help their child develop and learn 92%

Family survey data trends show consistently high national averages, with small increases over time across the three outcomes. Many states conduct further analyses by local districts, family demographics, and program variables to understand patterns and trends.

National Family Survey Data Trends: FFY 2011 through FFY 2016
Chart (Data table follows)
Outcome FFY2011 FFY2012 FFY2013 FFY2014 FFY2015 FFY2016
Know their rights 87% 87% 88% 90% 89% 90%
Communicate children's needs 88% 88% 89% 90% 90% 91%
Help their child develop and learn 91% 90% 91% 92% 92% 92%

Using Family Data to Improve Practices

In addition to reporting these data to OSEP, state and local programs use family survey data in combination with other programmatic data to inform their decisions and improve systems and services. Program improvement plans may focus on a variety of practices, such as helping programs be better at supporting families in making informed choices. A valuable resource for states is the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children's set of Recommended Practices that support high-quality services in Part C early intervention. Implementing a continuous improvement process supports the use of evidence-based practices and ultimately the accomplishment of positive outcomes for children and families.

Please cite as:

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center & Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems. (2018). IDEA Part C early intervention family survey data for FFY2016. Retrieved from

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2019 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute