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

B. Installation: Develop a Communication Plan, Message and Materials

In this step, your state leadership team will develop the mechanisms that will ensure all key stakeholders, staff, and providers are adequately informed of activities related to integrating outcomes with the IFSP or IEP within this and future implementation stages. At this stage, the team will be informing the field of the decision to move forward with an integrated process as well as steps that are being taken along the way. This communication plan will include feedback loops, which are needed to gather information from those that are getting ready to and then are implementing the integrated processes in order to know whether what has been put in place is working and what might be improved. In many cases, the feedback loops are the ways in which you will become aware that some people are feeling resistant to the change, and will need additional support and information in order to feel more secure moving forward. During this step your team will create initial materials with your message about the purpose for and expected results of integrating the outcomes with the IFSP or IEP.

  1. Determine specific audiences for each message. The group should ask: What information do we want to share at this time? Who needs to know this information and why? When deciding how to communicate information about integrating outcomes with the IFSP or IEP, consider not only how professionals will be informed, but also how individual families and family groups will be informed.
  2. Discuss ways in which to communicate each message. Evaluate past communications for what has worked, and what hasn't, when determining how to communicate information about the outcomes & IFSP/IEP integration to various audiences. Consider multiple methods for delivering the message, including written material such as memos, website postings, webinars, etc.
  3. Develop a schedule of communication content and release. The communication plan should include multiple opportunities for sharing information and gathering and incorporating feedback from the field.
  4. Review examples of communications from other states about the integrated process. This could include stakeholder meeting agendas, fliers, memoranda or guidance documents.
  5. Review the feedback that is received, and identify and analyze areas of resistance. Develop a plan for how to engage those that are resistant; it may be the case that the sources of resistance indicate a need to revise aspects of the implementation plan. Consider additional conversations to determine the source of their discomfort with an integrated process, and develop a plan for addressing their concerns.
  6. Engage stakeholders to review and provide feedback on communications before they go out to the field.


View List

Note: The following links will each open in a new browser window or tab.

  • NC Benefits of Integrating Child Outcomes with IFSP Process: This graphic was developed to articulate the benefits of integrating outcomes to stakeholders and staff.
  • ESIT Guiding Concepts, TA Guide and Video: These materials were developed by the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program in Washington State to outline the mission, principles and outcomes of the program. The accompanying TA guide explains to providers how and why the Guiding Concepts were developed, and the video provides information on the Guiding Concepts for families and providers.
Close List

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