The New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) is part of the national EIP for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. First created by Congress in 1986 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the EIP is administered by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) through the Bureau of Early Intervention. In New York State, the EIP is established in Article 25 of the Public Health Law and has been in effect since July 1, 1993. The mission of the EIP is to identify and evaluate as early as possible those infants and toddlers whose healthy development is compromised and provide for appropriate intervention to improve child and family development.
Over the last few years, there have been many changes and new trends in the field of early intervention. Between 2010 and 2011, the inception of the New York State Early Intervention System (NYEIS) was introduced to the municipalities. NYEIS is a centralized, web-based, state-of-the-art system that electronically manages EIP administrative tasks and provides for information exchanges. This system is designed to support EIP’s service delivery, financial, administration and management activities at both the local and state levels. These activities include initial intake, evaluation, eligibility determination, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, service provision and all financial aspects, including insurance, claiming, payments and Medicaid reimbursement.
This new system has created many positives, such as a centralized location for documents, electronic management, financial management and cost-saving benefits with regard to mailings and paper. Since the system was created and has been used, many agencies see the benefits of the NYEIS system.
Another important NYS EIP trend includes group developmental intervention. EIP data trends during the past decade indicate that there has been a significant decline in group developmental intervention services statewide, as well as a diverse and varied delivery of group services, raising concerns about the availability and consistent provision of these services in communities statewide. In 2010, the department convened a Task Force of the Early Intervention Coordinating Council (EICC) to advise and assist the department in identifying ways to ensure access and availability of group developmental intervention services in integrated and inclusive settings. They also developed standards to promote consistent, high-quality practices in delivery of group developmental intervention services statewide.
As part of this trend toward group developmental intervention, Variety Child Learning Center (VCLC), with approval, has increased this service method within the school. Parents see the positive benefits of this group developmental intervention and children respond with great enthusiasm to peer and adult interactions. All five developmental domains—cognition, communication, social-emotional, adaptive and motor—are addressed during group developmental intervention, which makes it an appropriate setting for many children with a variety of developmental delays.
The New York State EIP continues to grow and change for the sake of children and families. Variety Child Learning Center will continue to offer programs that reflect the current trends.
The EIP is a public program for children under the age of three who are either suspected of having or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Potentially eligible children must be referred to the county program to receive EIP services. EIP is funded by New York State and county governments. All EIP services are provided at no cost to parents. Health insurance may be used for approved services. A child’s eligibility for the program can be determined only by state-approved evaluators under contract and all services must be authorized by the county. For more information, call the Growing Up Healthy hotline at 800-522-5006.
Barbara Pirnat MS/Ed is director of Early Intervention for Variety Child Learning Center in Syosset.