(2021, October 29) | Useful at the state and local levels of the Part C Early Intervention service system, early interventionists, and Parent Center staff and others who work with families of infants and toddlers with disabilities.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education has released yet another guidance in its Return to School Roadmap series–this one is called Provision of Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

OSERS issued the guidance in response to requests from a diverse group of stakeholders asking that the Department issue new guidance interpreting requirements of Part C of IDEA  in light of the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and as more programs are returning to in-person services. The Department recognizes that the generally home-based nature of IDEA Part C services has presented a complicated set of considerations for State LAs and EIS providers in providing IDEA Part C services.  The document focuses on the development and implementation of Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP). An IFSP is the written plan for providing early intervention services to an infant or toddler with a disability and the infant’s or toddler’s family. The IFSP must be developed by the child’s IFSP Team, which includes the parent, in accordance with the procedures specified in IDEA. The questions and answers addressed are intended to provide guidance and to identify the relevant requirements and options for flexibility for the State lead agencies (LA) and EIS providers when faced with unprecedented programmatic circumstances.

Access the online version of Provision of Early Intervention Services roadmap at:
https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/return-to-school-roadmap-provision-of-early-intervention-services-oct-29-2021/

Access a PDF version of the same document, at:
https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/QA-on-Early-Intervention-10-29-2021.pdf

Equally interesting and valuable is OSERS’ simultaneous release of an 8-page companion guidance called Return to School Roadmap: Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility. We’ve described that publication separately, but to save you the time of going to another abstract, you’ll find the guidance on Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility at:
https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/return-to-school-roadmap-child-find-referral-and-eligibility-oct-29-2021/

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The Questions Addressed in this Guidance

For your convenient preview, we list the 9 questions addressed in Provision of Early Intervention Services:

1: What are the State LA or EIS providers’ responsibilities for ensuring that IFSP Teams address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the child and family when developing the initial IFSP?

2: What are the State LAs and EIS providers’ responsibilities to ensure that IFSP Teams address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the child and family after the initial IFSP has been developed?

3: What are the State LAs and EIS providers’ responsibilities to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families who did not receive some or all of the early intervention services in their IFSPs due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

4: What are the State LAs and EIS providers’ responsibilities for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families who, due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, received services under an interim IFSP?

5: What should the IFSP Team consider if a parent requests that early intervention services are provided virtually as a method of delivery?

6: What options are available to parents, State LAs, and EIS providers to resolve disputes under IDEA Part C?

7: What are the State LA or EIS providers’ responsibilities if an infant or toddler with a disability did not receive timely transition services due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

8: What systemic actions should the State LA or EIS provider take to address transition activities that were not completed within the required timeline or that were delayed due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

9: What resources are available to support the safe return to in-person services to reduce the spread of COVID-19?

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