Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Service Coordination
Under Part C

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.

Service coordination defined under IDEA

The 2011 regulatory definition of service coordination and a description of responsibilities and activities of service coordinators are available at 34 CFR 303.34.

Service Coordination Systems

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.

PDF: An Outcomes-Based Approach to Evaluating Service Coordination Models (2005)

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.

Training Resources

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)

Care Coordination: Integrating Health and Related Systems of Care for Children With Special Health Care Needs

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.

WWW: Current Policy Statements and Clinical Practice Guidelines

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.

WWW: Every Child Deserves a Medical Home Training Program

Within the National Center for Medical Home Implementation 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.

Links on this site are verified monthly. This page content was last updated on 11/26/2012 AML

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

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.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
  • OSEP's TA&D Network:IDEAs that Work