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Early Steps Policy Handbook
7/1/2010

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA Denotes a federal imposed policy required by the IDEA
State imposed policy not required by the IDEA Denotes a state imposed policy not required by the IDEA or federal regulation

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Component

3.0  First Contacts/Evaluation/Assessment

Authority:

IDEA Sections 631, 632, 634, 635, 636

34 CFR, Sections 303.16, 303.17, 303.300, 303.321, 303.322, 303.323, 303.344, 303.345, 303.403, 303.404

Intent:

These policies are intended to ensure that a timely, comprehensive multi-disciplinary evaluation to confirm eligibility for early intervention services and a multidisciplinary assessment to determine the child’s level of functioning in all the required developmental domains is conducted for infants and toddlers under the age of three referred to Early Steps.  These policies ensure identification of the child’s unique strengths and needs in each developmental domain and the services appropriate to meet those needs.

Sections:

3.1.0

IDEA, Part C Eligibility

Page 1

 

3.2.0

First Contacts

Page 3

 

3.3.0

Developmental Screening

Page 4

 

3.4.0

Evaluation/Assessment

Page 5

 

3.5.0

Evaluation

Page 6

 

3.6.0

Assessment

Page 7

 

 

 

 

3.1.0  IDEA, Part C Eligibility

Policy

Reference/Related Documents

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.1        A child under the age of three is eligible for services under Part C of the IDEA if he/she has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay or has developmental delay.  There are no financial eligibility requirements.

Operations Guide 3.1.1

IDEA §632(5)(A)

IDEA §634(1)  

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.2  Established conditions fall into one of the following areas:

  1. Genetic and metabolic disorders
  2. Neurological disorder
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder
  4. Severe attachment disorder
  5. Significant sensory impairment (vision/hearing)
  6. Infants who weigh less than 1,200 grams at birth

Operations Guide 3.1.2

34 CFR §303.16 Note 1

 

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.3  If the child has an established condition that has a high probability of resulting in a develop­mental delay, a written confirmation from a licensed physician of the diagnosis is required to establish eligibility OR In the case of (a) severe attachment disorder or autism spectrum disorder, a healthcare practitioner acting within his/her scope of practice or (b) in case of hearing loss, a licensed audiologist.  Written confirmation of the diagnosed condition must be in the child’s Early Steps record.

Operations Guide 3.1.3

34 CFR §303.16(a)(2)

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.4    Developmental delay meets or exceeds 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two or more developmental domains or 2.0 standard deviations below the mean in one or more of the following developmental domains, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures:

  1. Cognitive
  2. Physical (including vision and hearing)
  3. Communication
  4. Social or Emotional
  5. Adaptive

Operations Guide 3.1.4

IDEA §632(4)(C)

IDEA §632(5)(A)(i)

IDEA §635(a)(1)

34 CFR §303.322(c)(3)(ii)

 

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.5  No single procedure will be used as the sole criterion for determining a child’s eligibility for Early Steps.

34 CFR §303.323(c)

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.1.6  A standard score on an appropriate stan­dardized instrument must be one component of the process to determine eligibility if a child does not have an established condition.

Operations Guide 3.1.6

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.7  Children moving to Florida and transferring from an IDEA Part C program in another state must meet Florida’s eligibility criteria.

Policy Handbook 5.5.5

Operations Guide 3.1.7

34 CFR §303.300

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.8  The evaluation and assessment of each child must:

  1. Be conducted by personnel trained to utilize appropriate methods and procedures.
  2. Be based on informed clinical opinion that documents use of multiple sources of information.  
  3. Include a review of pertinent records related to the child's current health status and medical history.

Operations Guide 3.1.8

34 CFR §303.300(a)

34 CFR §303.322(c)(1)

34 CFR §303.322(c)(2)

34 CFR §303.322(c)(3)(i)

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.9  Eligibility or ineligibility for Early Steps must be documented on the child’s IFSP.

Operations Guide 3.1.9

34 CFR §303.16

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.1.10   If the child is found ineligible for Early Steps, the family must receive a copy of the evaluation results.

Policy Handbook 8.2.1

Policy Handbook 12.3.6

Operations Guide 3.1.10

 

3.2.0  First Contacts

Policy

Reference/Related Documents

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.2.1  The first contacts process occurs between referral and the initial evaluation/assessment during the first 44 days of the family’s involvement with Early Steps.

Operations Guide 3.2.1

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.2.2  Initial contact must be made with the family within 5 calendar days from the date the referral is made. 

Operations Guide 3.2.2

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.2.3  The assigned service coordinator who is an ongoing member of the IFSP team is required to have a conversation with the family prior to the day of the initial evaluation/assessment to gather information to prepare for the evaluation and/or assessment and to provide the family with information about Early Steps

Policy Handbook 4.2.0

Operations Guide 3.2.3

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.2.4 The first contacts activities must be at times convenient to the family. 

Operations Guide 3.2.4

Instructions for Completing the Early Steps IFSP, Form A

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.2.5  Any family assessment that is conducted must be voluntary on the part of the family. If an assessment of the family is carried out, the assessment must:

  1. Be conducted by personnel trained to utilize appropriate methods and procedures.
  2. Be based on information provided by the family through a personal interview.
  3. Incorporate the family's description of its resources, priorities, concerns, and everyday routines, activities, and places related to enhancing the child's development.

Operations Guide 3.2.5

34 CFR §303.322  

34 CFR §303.322(d)(2)(3)

 

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.2.6  During first contacts, the family must be informed of the availability of and provided the contact information for the local Family Resource Specialist (FRS).

Family Resource Specialist Contact List

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.2.7  A procedure must be in place for the service coordinator to provide IFSP team members with a summary of first contact information, including screening results and the recommendations for the evaluation and assessment team.

Operations Guide 3.2.7

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.2.8  A minimum of three documented consecutive unsuccessful attempts to contact the family using more than one method of contact must be made prior to eligibility determination and the consent for services before closing a child to Early Steps due to unsuccessful contact attempts.

IDEA §631(b)(1)

 

3.3.0  Developmental Screening

Policy

Reference/Related Documents

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.3.1  Although screening is not required during First Contacts, a developmental screening with a recommended instrument may be helpful to the evaluation and assessment team when a child does not have an established condition or obvious developmental delay.

Operations Guide 3.2.1

Operations Guide 3.3.1

 

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.3.2.   Early Steps does not conduct universal screening.

Operations Guide 3.3.2

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.3.3  If the family chooses to pursue further evaluation after a screening indicates the child is functioning at age level in all five developmental domains, then one of the following must occur: 

  1. An evaluation/assessment is provided. OR
  2. The Local Early Steps decides not to provide an evaluation/assessment, and gives written prior notice, including procedural safeguards to the family.  The notice must specify that an evaluation is being refused and the reasons for refusal.

Policy Handbook 8.4.4

Operations Guide 3.3.3

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.3.4  When the screening indicates the child may have a developmental delay but the family does not consent to the evaluation, the Local Early Steps must:

  1. Document the family’s lack of consent to the evaluation in writing.   
  2. Explain to the family that the child will not be able to receive an evaluation, assessment, or services unless consent is given.
  3. Explain the nature of the evaluation and assessment and other services that would be available if the child were to meet eligibility criteria.

Operations Guide 3.3.4

34 CFR §303.404

Form CMS-ES 1064-Use of Private Insurance - English

Form CMS-ES 1064-Use of Private Insurance - Spanish

Form CMS-ES 1064-Use of Private Insurance - Creole

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.3.5  If the child does not proceed to the evaluation and assessment, the service coordinator will provide the family with the screening results.

 

 

3.4.0  Evaluation/Assessment

Policy

Reference/Related Documents

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.1 Prior written consent for the evaluation and/or assessment must be obtained on the state-approved form before testing occurs.

 

Operations Guide 3.4.1

34 CFR §303.16    

34 CFR §303.322 (c)(3)(ii)

34 CFR §303.404

Form CMS-ES 1064-Use of Private Insurance - English

Form CMS-ES 1064-Use of Private Insurance - Spanish

Form CMS-ES 1064-Use of Private Insurance - Creole

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.2. The family must receive written prior notice of the scheduled date for the evaluation or assessment within a reasonable amount of time prior to it occurring.  The written prior notice must be provided in the parents’ native language unless it clearly is not feasible to do so.

Operations Guide 3.4.2

34 CFR §303.403

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.3  The evaluation and assessment must be completed within 45 days of the date the child is referred to Early Steps for determination of IDEA, Part C eligibility.

Operations Guide 3.4.3

34 CFR §303.321

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.4  At least two different disciplines in areas appropriate to address the child’s presenting condition(s) must be involved in conducting the evaluation/assessment.  For children who are Medicaid eligible, Medicaid requirements for evaluation and assessment must be met.

Operations Guide 3.4.3

Operations Guide 3.4.4

34 CFR §303.17

34 CFR §303.322

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.5  Evaluation and assessment procedures must be nondiscriminatory and must be administered so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory.

34 CFR §303.323

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.6  Evaluation and assessment materials and procedures are to be administered in the parents’ native language or mode of communi­cation, unless it clearly is not feasible to do so.

Operations Guide 3.4.6

34 CFR §303.323

 

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.4.7  The evaluation and/or assessment must include opportunities to observe the child in typical routines/activities.

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.8  ESSO will ensure that the requirements of evaluation and assessment are implemented by all affected public agencies and service providers in the state.

34 CFR §303.322(a)(2)

 

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.4.9  In the event of exceptional circumstances that make it impossible to complete the evaluation and assessment within 45 days (e.g., if a child is ill), LES will:

  1. Document those circumstances.
  2. Develop and implement an interim IFSP, to the extent appropriate and consistent with 34 CFR §303.345(b)(1) and 34 CFR §303.345(b)(2).

Policy Handbook 5.40

34 CFR §303.322(e)(2)

 

3.5.0  Evaluation

Policy

Reference/Related Documents

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.5.1. Each child referred to Early Steps must have an initial evaluation, unless the child:

  1. Has an established condition or
  2. Has had an evaluation within the past 90 days using one of Florida’s recommended evaluation tools or a tool that meets Florida policy as set forth in 3.5.2 below.
  3. Has screening results that indicate the child is functioning at an age appropriate level.

Policy Handbook 3.5.3

Policy Handbook 3.6.1

Operations Guide 3.5.1

Policy Handbook 3.3.3

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.5.2  The evaluation must determine the child’s developmental status in each of the following domains:

  1. Communication
  2. Self-help/adaptive
  3. Cognitive
  4. Physical (including fine and gross motor and vision and hearing)
  5. Social/emotional

Operations Guide 3.5.2

34 CFR §303.16(a)(1)

34 CFR §303.322(c)(3)(ii)

 

State imposed policy not required by the IDEA

3.5.3  Each child with an established condition must receive an initial and ongoing assessment to determine the present level of functioning of the child as required by Policy Handbook 3.5.2.

34 CFR §303.322

34 CFR §303.344(a)

 

3.5.4  Reserved

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.5.5   The results of the initial evaluation must be documented on the IFSP.

Operations Guide 3.5.5

IDEA §636(d)(1)

34 CFR §303.344(a)

 

 

3.6.0  Assessment

Policy

Reference/Related Documents

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

 

3.6.1  Each eligible child must receive an initial and ongoing assessment to help identify:

  1. The child’s strengths and unique needs in each of the developmental areas in Policy 3.5.2 above and the services appropriate to meet those needs. 
  2. The resources, priorities and concerns of the family and the supports and services necessary to enhance the family’s capacity to meet the developmental needs of their child with a disability.

Operations Guide 3.6.1

34 CFR §303.322

34 CFR §303.322(c)(3)(iii)

 

 

 

3.6.2. Reserved

 

Federal imposed policy required by the IDEA

3.6.3  The results of the assessment must be documented on the Individualized Family Support Plan that serves as the assessment report.

Operations Guide 3.6.3

34 CFR §303.344


 

 


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