If you are a parent and have concerns regarding your child’s development, you may directly refer your child to the Early Intervention Program (EIP) by calling the New York State Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 or the local EIP where your child resides: New York City (311), Nassau County (516)227-8661, Suffolk County (631)853-3100, and Westchester County (914)813-5094. Potentially eligible children must be referred to the county program to receive EIP services.
All Early Intervention Services are provided at no cost to parents. The Early Intervention Program is funded by New York State and county governments. Health insurance may be used by the Early Intervention Program for approved services for reimbursement. Health insurance, however, is not required to participate in the EIP.
Once your child is referred to the Early Intervention Program or EIP, an initial service coordinator will be assigned to meet with you and your family. The initial service coordinator will provide assistance throughout all of the steps of the evaluation process, the first IFSP meeting, and development of the Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP.
The Early Intervention Program or EIP offers a multidisciplinary evaluation at no out-of-pocket cost to families who have concerns about any area of their child’s development. The EIP will provide parents with a list of State approved evaluators under contract with the local city or county government. Parents will be asked to select an evaluation agency whose clinical team will provide an assessment of their child’s development and determine eligibility for the EIP. Only state approved evaluation agencies under contract with the local city or county can determine eligibility.
Evaluations will be conducted by two or more qualified evaluators who will use “play-based” assessment methods to test and observe a child’s areas of strength and areas of need. The assessment will address parents’ particular concerns about their child’s development. Each child is assessed in all of the following developmental areas:
- Cognitive skills
- Physical skills
- Social skills
- Adaptive behavior
Based upon the assessment outcome, additional evaluations may be recommended. During the evaluation process, a parent’s input and report is critical to having an accurate and typical picture of the child.
In addition, a Health Assessment Report Form, completed by the child’s pediatrician, is required. Once the Health Assessment Report Form is received by the evaluation site and the assessments are completed, the evaluation team will determine the status of eligibility and provide a full summary and evaluation report to the family, initial service coordinator, and the Early Intervention Program.
If a child is found to present with a certain diagnosed condition or a great enough developmental delay (that meets eligibility criteria for The New York State Early Intervention Program) then the child will be determined eligible for Early Intervention Services. The parent/guardian, together with the initial service coordinator, county Early Intervention Official Designee or EIOD, and evaluation representative, will meet to make a written Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP to address the needs of the child and family.
At the initial IFSP meeting, a child’s strengths, needs, family priorities, and concerns are discussed and written into the plan. The IFSP will also indicate the approved services. The IFSP team will help determine how these services will fit most naturally into the child’s family routines, lifestyle, and activity preferences. The team will look at ways in which the child’s development can be encouraged in everyday activities and places where the child is already present. These places or settings are called the child’s natural environment. In addition, at the IFSP meeting, parents will select an ongoing service coordinator who will ensure that all services stated in the IFSP begin as quickly as possible and are reviewed on a regular basis.
The Early Intervention Official Designee will arrange for a New York State approved service provider, under contract, to deliver the approved services. The provider will be selected based upon the needs of the child and family.
All Early Intervention services that are authorized by the Early Intervention Program are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to parents and are covered by New York State and county governments.
If services are delivered in childcare settings or community locations that require a fee, the parent is responsible for paying that fee (ex: private daycare tuition). In addition, the child’s health insurance may be used by the county to cover the costs for approved services through the Early Intervention Program. Health insurance, however, is not required to participate in the Early Intervention Program.