Early intervention service coordination is a mandated service under Part C of IDEA, provided at no cost to families. Service coordination is defined as an active, ongoing process that assists and enables families to access services and assures their rights and procedural safeguards.
The 2011 regulatory definition of service coordination and a description of responsibilities and activities of service coordinators are available at 34 CFR 303.34.
Within the parameters of IDEA's regulations, states have much discretion in developing their service coordination system. States and communities have different approaches or models of service coordination. Service coordinators may be "dedicated", meaning that service coordination is their only role. In a "blended" or primary service provider model, all of the professionals on the Early Intervention team may perform the functions of service coordination for their assigned families in addition to providing a specific EI service. Service coordination caseloads vary according to the different models, and whether or not there are standards or maximum limits.
This is the final report of a three-year study. The purpose of the study was to investigate three commonly used Part C service coordination models, examining the degree to which services are delivered efficiently, including a cost analysis, as well as their effect on child and family outcomes. The goal of this project was to identify those service coordination strategies that best support system efficiency and child and family quality of life and developmental outcomes.
This page presents a compilation of states' on-line courses or modules that are part of a credentialing or qualification process for service coordinators and other early intervention providers. Additionally, there is a collection of on-line training materials that states are using in early intervention programs to provide inservice supports for EI providers. (page created February 1, 2010)
Young children with disabilities often have many medical issues and it is essential to link the care systems of early intervention, education and health. The medical philosophy and practice of family-centered care parallels family-centered practices in early intervention. There is also a parallel emphasis on care coordination and service coordination in order that families can easily access integrated services and community supports.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides a policy brief with descriptions of role of families and primary care pediatricians and recommendations for assuring quality care coordination. Use the link above to go the AAP policy statements. Enter the key words: "care coordination" in the search engine to locate the policy statement.
Young children often fall through the cracks between pediatric primary health care providers and providers of mental health, early intervention, child welfare, and early care and education services. This monograph describes interagency policies and strategies to improve care coordination and linkages that support families.
Within the National Center of Medical Home Initiatives for Children with Special Needs (National Center) a training program has been developed for primary care physicians, pediatric office staff, child health advocates, allied health care professionals, and parents of children with special needs. The medical home training program focuses on how to ensure that children with special needs have a medical home (care that is accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally competent) in changing health care environments.