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Early Steps Operations Guide
7/1/2010

This document does not include guidance/procedures for each policy in the Early Steps Policy Handbook.  Guidance is included only as necessary to explain how to implement a policy, outline steps, or recommend actions to support implementation.

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Component:   7.0       Early Childhood Transitions

Related Policy Component

Guidance/Procedures

Reference/Related Documents

7.1.0 Transition Planning

7.1.1

A.      For infants determined eligible for Early Steps while in the hospital, the service coordinator should:

1.      Conduct a review of the IFSP, its implementation and impact of the services provided prior to hospital discharge to determine whether any changes need to be made in the services provided.  (Note: The eligibility process and IFSP development should not be delayed due to hospitalization, nor should they be postponed until discharge.)

2.      Obtain input from other service providers and family regarding the appropriateness of the current IFSP.  (Note: For children dually enrolled and served by Early Steps and CMS Network, the Early Steps service coordinator will include the CMS Network care coordinator in the flow of activities and sequence of events delineated throughout the transition process.)

3.      Address issues related to the transition from hospital to home.

4.      Coordinate Early Steps transition activities with hospital discharge planning.

B.     For children transitioning between LES in Florida, the service coordinator should: 

  1. Conduct a review of the IFSP to add concerns, priorities, resources and outcomes regardless of the next IFSP review due date.
  2. Obtain consent from the family to share information with the receiving entity.
  3. Refer family to other agencies and services as appropriate, with consent of the family.
  4. Document transition planning activities in case notes.
  5. Upon consent, send information such as IFSP's, case notes, provider notes, and other pertinent information from the Early Steps record to the receiving entity. Whenever permissible, the actual Early Steps record should be transferred when the receiving entity is another LES.
  6. Provide name and phone number of the contact person at the receiving entity to the family.
  7. Notify current service providers regarding family's plans and expected end date for services.
  8. Ensure the Early Steps record is transferred from the sending LES to the receiving LES.
  9. Conduct an IFSP review shortly after family moves, regardless of the next IFSP review due date.
  10. Contact the family after the transition to ensure that a link was made with the receiving entity within 30 days of the transition.
  11. Close the child’s Early Steps record in the Early Steps data system.

C.     For children transitioning and leaving the state, the service coordinator should:

1.      Obtain consent from the family to share information with the receiving state program, if known.

2.      With consent of the family, refer family to receiving state program.

3.      Upon consent, send information such as IFSPs, case notes, provider notes, and other pertinent information from the Early Steps record to the receiving state program.

4.      Notify current service providers regarding family's plans and expected end date for services.

5.      Close the child's Early Steps records in the Early Steps data system.

D.     At the time of a periodic review or annual meeting to evaluate the IFSP, the IFSP team may determine that all of the outcomes have been achieved, the family has no further concerns or needs, and there is no reason for the child or family to continue in Early Steps. In this case, a plan for transitioning is discussed, termination dates decided, and, at the appropriate time, the child’s record is closed. A child should not be terminated from Early Steps based solely on developmental status. The IFSP team should consider, for example, whether the continued provision of services is required or likely to be required for the child to maintain appropriate developmental progress.

E.     Prior to closure, the service coordinator should:

1.      Provide the family with developmentally appropriate materials necessary for the child to continue making developmental gains.

2.      Instruct the family how to reinitiate a referral to Early Steps if new concerns arise.

Operations Guide 3.1.7

 

 

7.1.2

A.      Informal discussions regarding the transition process occur with the family throughout the time the child receives services with Early Steps, starting with first contacts.

B.     Transition planning may occur in conjunction with a regularly scheduled IFSP meeting.

C.     Transition plans are to be individualized to the needs of the child and family.

D.     During transition planning, the IFSP team discusses concerns regarding possible program options, the new environment and any activities to enable a successful transition. 

E.     After a formal discussion regarding the transition process, the service coordinator should provide the family with a “transition packet” as defined by the LES, possibly including the most recent Transition Booklet for Families, Getting to Know Me document, Getting to Know Your New Teacher and School document which are available at the Florida’s Transition Project website, a blank transition plan of the IFSP, Head Start brochure, APD brochure, etc. 

 

IFSP Instructions, Form I

Florida Head Start website

Agency for Persons With Disabilities website

Transition Booklet for Families in English

Transition Booklet for Families - Spanish

Getting to Know Me - English

Getting to Know Me - Spanish

Getting to Know Me - Creole

Getting to Know Your New Teacher and School - English

Getting to Know Your New Teacher and School - Spanish

Getting to Know Your New Teacher and School - Creole

7.1.3

A.      In Florida, children eligible for the school district Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities begin services on their third birthday, even when the third birthday occurs prior to the end of the school yearFlorida has not elected to offer IDEA, Part C services beyond age three under the IDEA; therefore a child will have no IDEA, Part C options from the third birthday through the remainder of the school year.  If a child’s third birthday occurs during the summer, the child’s IEP team convened by the school district will determine the date when services under the IEP or IFSP (for school districts which use an IFSP in lieu of an IEP) will begin.

B.     Children who are not eligible for preschool services under IDEA, Part B are terminated from Early Steps by the third birthday and information is provided during transition planning, regarding appropriate services the child might receive. 

 

7.2.0 Notification

7.2.1

Notification is not required for children who are not yet determined eligible for IDEA, Part C.

It is recommended that LES and LEA administration discuss and agree to notification follow-up strategies such as:

A.      The LEA sending a letter of introduction to the parent that provides the name and phone number of an LEA representative who can explain the preschool special education eligibility process and provide general information about preschool special education.

B.     The LEA providing the parent with a copy of the preschool special education procedural safeguards.

 

 

7.2.5

The information in the Understanding Notification Brochure must be discussed verbally with the family.  It is not enough to provide the brochure without discussion or verbal explanation.

 

7.2.6

A.      Discussion of the intent to provide notification to the LEA and the decision of the parent related to opting out of notification is appropriately documented by the LES service coordinator in a dated case note in the Early Steps record. Evidence of notification to the LEA may be in the form of a letter, a list, a data report or any other format agreed to by the LES and LEA.

B.     If a notification list or report includes names, dates of birth or addresses of other children/families, that information will be redacted before placing in a child’s Early Steps record.

C.     If evidence of notification is kept at a separate location from the Early Steps record, this location should be noted in a case note.

D.     The provision of non-personally identifiable information to the school district when a parent opts out of notification is not equivalent to notification.

 

7.3.0 Transition Conference - For Children Who May Be Eligible for School District Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities

7.3.1

A.      Any delays or declinations regarding the transition conference are documented on the transition plan of the IFSP, in the case notes and in the Early Steps data system.

B.     For the purpose of holding a transition conference, approval of the family is not required to be in writing and can be verbal consent that is documented in a case note.

C.     If the child’s birthday is in the summer, the transition conference should occur in the spring to allow for availability of local school district staff and time for the plan to be in place before the school year begins.

D.     With consent of the family, information that will be helpful to the local school district may be shared in advance of the transition conference. Sharing of such information prior to the transition conference does not constitute a referral to the local school district.

E.     For a child who may be eligible for the school district Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities, items to be discussed during the transition conference and documented on the Transition Page (Form I) should include:

1.      Services available from the local school district and how and when the evaluation(s) and eligibility determination will occur. This will be provided by the local school district representative.  In the event the representative is not in attendance, the LES will obtain this information from the local school district.

2.      Other agencies and community providers that may benefit the child and family.

3.      Existing child/family information.

4.      Family concerns regarding transition.

5.      Activities to address identified concerns.

6.      Services/activities that need to be completed before child moves into the new setting.

7.      Persons involved in completing identified activities.

8.      Timeframes for when each activity should be completed.

9.      Need for scheduling visits to program sites.

IFSP Instructions, Form I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.3.2

A.      It is the responsibility of the LES to invite, with parental consent, the local school district representative to the transition conference.

B.     For the purpose of inviting the local school district representative to the transition conference, approval of the family is not required to be in writing and can be verbal consent that is documented in a case note.

C.     Although it is preferable for the participants in the transition conference to meet face-to-face, if the local school district representative is unable to be physically present for the transition conference, he/she may participate via phone conference, videoconferencing, etc. 

D.     In the event that the local school district representative is unable to participate in the transition conference due to unforeseen circumstances, the transition conference can be postponed and re-scheduled if acceptable to the LES and the family, and if the rescheduling will not jeopardize compliance with the required timelines. However, if rescheduling is not acceptable to the LES and family or if rescheduling will jeopardize compliance, then the transition conference should proceed without local school district participation. The exception to this would be that the family requests that the conference be postponed until the school district representative is available.

E.  The following individuals may also be present, with  parental consent, for the transition conference as appropriate:

1.      Early Steps service providers

2.      Head Start staff

3.      Child Care staff

4.      Children’s Medical Services staff

5.      Agency for Persons with Disabilities representative

6.      Other individuals of family's choice

7.      FDLRS representative

F.      It is the responsibility of the Early Steps service coordinator or designee to facilitate the transition conference. If the transition conference is scheduled in conjunction with an initial or annual IFSP meeting, all requirements related to IFSP meetings as stated in policy component 5 will apply, in addition to the requirements related to the transition conference stated in this component.

The transition conference might be an appropriate time to complete a periodic review or annual meeting to evaluate the IFSP if the child’s third birthday is a short time prior to the next required periodic review or annual evaluation of the IFSP. All requirements related to IFSP meetings as stated in policy components 5.2.0, 5.6.0 and 5.7.0 will apply, in addition to the requirements related to the transition conference stated in this component.

 

7.4.0 Transition Conference - For Children Who May Not Be Eligible for School District Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities

7.4.1

A.      For the purpose of holding a transition conference, approval of the family is not required to be in writing and can be verbal consent that is documented in a case note.

B.     With consent of the family, information that will be helpful to the receiving program or agency may be shared in advance of the transition conference.  

C.     The following items should be discussed during the transition conference and documented on the Transition Page (Form I).

1.      Services that child and family may be eligible for.

2.      How and when the evaluation(s) and eligibility determination for other programs and services will occur.

3.      Other agencies and community providers that may benefit the child and family.

4.      Existing child/family information.

5.      Family concerns regarding transition.

6.      Activities to address identified concerns.

7.      Services/activities that need completed before child moves into the new setting.

8.      Persons involved in completing identified activities.

9.      Timeframes for when each activity should be completed.

10.  Need for scheduling visits to program sites.

D.      The transition conference might be an appropriate time to complete a periodic review or annual meeting to evaluate the IFSP if the child’s third birthday is a short time prior to the next required periodic review or annual evaluation of the IFSP.  All requirements related to IFSP meetings stated in policy components 5.2.0, 5.6.0 and 5.7.0 will apply, in addition to the requirements related to the transition conference stated in this component.

 

 

 

 

 

7.4.2

A.      The following individuals may also be present, with parental consent, for the transition conference as appropriate:

1.      Current service providers

2.      Head Start staff

3.      Child Care staff

4.      Children’s Medical Services staff

5.      Agency for Persons with Disabilities representative

6.      Other individuals of family's choice

B.     For the purpose of inviting other individuals to the transition conference, approval of the family is not required to be in writing and can be verbal consent that is documented in a case note.

C.     It is the responsibility of the Early Steps service coordinator or designee to facilitate the transition conference.

 

7.5.0 Referral to the School District Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities

7.5.1

 

It is important that families are provided with and understand their referral options before being asked to provide consent for a referral to a specific program or provider.

 

7.5.2

A.      LES are not required to conduct hearing or vision screenings solely for the purpose of transitioning at age three.

B.     Additional items to be included in the referral packet should be specified in the interagency agreement between the LES and the local school district.

C.     LES should work together with their local school district to use existing Early Steps information and data such as parent reports, current evaluations and assessments, IFSP information, and observations by service providers to assist in determining eligibility for the school district Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities.

 

 

7.6.0 Referral to Other Early Care and Education Program

7.6.1

 

It is important that families are provided with and understand their referral options before being asked to provide consent for a referral to a specific program or provider.

 

7.7.0 Initial Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Meeting

7.7.1

A.      If the Early Steps service coordinator or other LES representative is unable to be physically present for the initial IEP meeting, he/she may participate via phone conference, videoconferencing, etc. 

B.     If the Early Steps service coordinator or other LES representative is unable to participate in the initial IEP meeting, the Early Steps service coordinator should contact the family or local school district to obtain the meeting outcome.

 

7.8.0 Closure to Early Steps

7.8.1

A.      IDEA, Part C funds end for children as of the day of their third birthday. 

B.     The timeframe for the administration of the exit evaluation for the child outcome measurement system is specified in the Flowchart and Decision Rules for Entry and Exit for Child Outcome Assessments at www.tats.ucf.edu/.

 

 

7.8.3

A child may not be provided services authorized by an IFSP under IDEA, Part C and by an IEP under IDEA, Part B. Any IDEA, Part C eligible child under three for whom an IEP is to be developed, must be closed to IDEA, Part C before they can receive services under IDEA, Part B.

 

 

 


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