Implementing an Integrated Child & Family Outcomes and IFSP/IEP Process


What is the purpose of this Interactive Guide?

The purpose of this interactive guide is to assist state, regional and local early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE) providers to take the steps needed to integrate the child and family outcomes measurement with the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. Over the last 5 years, the idea of combining the process of measuring child outcomes as a part of the IFSP or IEP process has been gaining momentum, and several states now have IFSPs and/or IEPs that contain the child outcomes measurement within the form.

Other states have created integrated processes (without combining the forms) in which the evaluation and assessment information gathered is used for both purposes, and families are informed and asked to participate in the outcomes ratings. The results of this combination have been reported to be more complete and accurate IFSPs, IEPs and outcomes measurement, increased involvement in and understanding of the processes by the families, more functional child and family IFSP outcomes and child IEP goals, and improved monitoring of individualized outcomes and goals over time. Work continues to expand and improve integrating outcomes into the IFSP and IEP processes, including the inclusion of family outcomes.

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Photograph: A female toddler smiles at something or someone out of framee. (Photograph by Alex Lazara)

Why was this Interactive Guide developed?

This guide was developed in response to requests from states and programs considering integrating the outcomes with the IFSP/IEP to have a resource that would help them think through how they might create an integrated process in their state or program. It is designed to be a "place to start" when considering the multiple factors that go into creating an integrated process.

Who developed this guide?

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This guide was developed by members of a workgroup from the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center's Integrating Outcomes Learning Community with support from staff from the ECO Center, the Western Regional Resource Center (WRRC), and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center).

State Workgroup Members:
  • Shannon Dunstan, Idaho
  • Lenita Hartman, Colorado
  • Peggy Kemp, Kansas
  • Phoebe Rinkel, Kansas
  • Michelle Staley, New Mexico
  • Kristen Votava, North Dakota
  • Naomi Younggren, Army EDIS

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How is the guide organized?

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The guide contains the four stages of implementation as described by the implementation science literature as well as concrete steps within each stage that providers may take to develop a comprehensive, efficient and integrated process.

The guide is organized in the following ways:

  • Each of the four stages of implementation (exploration, installation, initial implementation and full implementation/sustainability) are described, and examples specific to the integration of outcomes with the IFSP/IEP process given;
  • Each of the stages includes several steps that may be taken in order to move towards an integrated process;
  • Each stage contains links to tools that state, regional and /or local EI and ECSE providers may use to support or facilitate the completion of the steps within the stage;
  • Each stage also contains links to resources from state and national sources to show examples of how the steps have been implemented by other programs.

The guide is designed to be interactive and self-paced, and may be used by an individual or a group to guide the process. For those who are not already familiar with implementation science, resources and literature may be found on the websites of NIRN and SISEP.

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How did we do?

At the bottom of each page throughout the guide, there is an icon that links to a short survey. You may respond on any page or at the end of the guide. We are interested in your feedback on the whole guide, but if on any page, you want to comment, please do!

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 H326P120002 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.

Copyright © 2014, ECTA Center