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

A. Exploration: Articulate Desired Change and Results

In order to begin, you must clearly articulate the expected benefits for all stakeholders: families, providers, administrators, the State Education Agency (SEA) and/or the Lead Agency (LA). This is the answer to the question, "Why are we doing this?"

Here are some questions that may facilitate this conversation:

  • What is our purpose for pursuing an integrated outcomes and IFSP/IEP process?
  • What is the intended result of integrating child and family outcomes within our IFSP or IEP process?
  • Why is it important to do this work now?
  • How will integrating outcomes improve outcomes for children and families?

Here are some potential answers to these questions:

  • Streamlined and more efficient paperwork and use of staff time,
  • Less missing child and/or family outcomes data,
  • Improving authentic assessment practices for providers to connect the assessment and evaluation information to both processes,
  • More functional individual child and family outcomes,
  • Improved family understanding of their child's functioning in the measurement of outcomes,
  • Improving families' understanding of the purpose of EI/ECSE and participation in services and supports, and
  • Improved providers' understanding of the meaningful connection between the child and family outcomes and the purpose of EI/ECSE.

You will also have the opportunity to get specific about the changes that will be made in order to integrate the child and family outcomes into your IFSP/IEP process by comparing what you have learned from other programs to where you are now. This step is also an opportunity for you to consider changes at multiple levels that will support the purpose that you articulate and will ensure sustainability once the changes are implemented.

  • Identify and bring together a diverse group of stakeholders that will assess needs and develop a common understanding of the purpose and outcomes of developing an integrated outcomes and IFSP/IEP process. Consider representation from state and local administrators, training and technical assistance (TA) staff, service providers and parents. Ensure that the group contains individuals who are capable of making decisions or has a plan to take recommendations to decision makers.

With your stakeholders, you will then:

  1. List the specific concerns or issues that you are trying to address, at all levels of the system. Include considerations for state, regional and local programs as well as families and children. Use data and other evidence (monitoring or general supervision information) to assist in identifying concerns or issues.
  2. List the specific outcomes, benefits and changes that will be addressed by the integrated outcomes and IFSP/IEP process. List specific outcomes, benefits and changes for all the groups listed above.
  3. Review your current infrastructure and support systems, such as staffing, training and TA and consider the following:
    1. Is our current infrastructure sufficient to support the integration of the two processes?
    2. Do we have adequate means of providing mentoring and supervision?
    3. Is our current training and TA support sufficient to support the integration of the two processes?
    4. What can we identify now that will need to change in order for both the infrastructure and training and TA to support an integrated process?
    5. What additional resources and barriers exist?


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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.

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