Accompanying this communication you will find two new resources related to providing in-person Early Intervention services. The “In-person Home Visit Guidelines” document lays out mandatory guidance and best practices when providing in-person visits. The “Visual In-person Home Visit Guidelines” document is a condensed visual representation of this guidance. Both documents reflect the input of program staff from multiple state agencies that provide services in program participants’ homes. These state agencies will use this new guidance to support the work of these professionals providing in-home services.
Because this guidance serves diverse programs, DODD is providing some additional context specific to EI:
- Although DODD never prohibited in-person EI services, DODD has strongly encouraged local EI systems to utilize virtual options wherever possible. We continue to recommend that EI services be provided virtually when this is possible since this remains the safest way to provide EI services. We recognize, however, that sometimes it is not possible to serve some families through a virtual-only option and this new guidance can support local teams in safely providing some EI services in-person in those cases where it is necessary.
- Consistent with pre-COVID-19 guidance, local teams must use the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) process to determine the method of EI service delivery. The IFSP process should be used to determine how best to utilize a particular EI service to meet an outcome and consider factors such as the progress being made toward the outcome using virtual options; the health risks of the child being served, caregivers, and other family members; and the extent of COVID-19 spread in the local community.
- EI professionals must continue to follow all local agency policies related to how EI services will be provided during the pandemic. These new guidance materials do not supplant local agency policies and, indeed, explicitly require that local agencies have policies in place prior to completing in-home EI services.
- As we have learned during the past several months, the pandemic is a fast moving situation. It may prove necessary to update this guidance based on new information about the COVID-19 virus. You will also find that there are many links included in the guidance document. You should check these frequently to ensure that you are following the most up-to-date best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). ODH’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System also provides regularly updated information at the county level about the spread of the virus and its effect on local communities.
- EI professionals should continue to ensure that all activities, especially those related to cancellation and rescheduling, are well-documented in case notes.
Thank you for the important EI services you are providing to children and families during this difficult time. We know that these services can make a profound difference in a child’s developmental trajectory. Each person working in our state’s EI system also has an obligation to ensure that these EI services are provided as safely as possible. Thank you for familiarizing
yourself with this new guidance. Please reach out to your EI program consultant if you have any questions. As we review the questions we receive, we may send additional clarifying guidance as necessary. Thank you for everything each of you does to keep your communities safe!
I always invite your feedback. Do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Program Updates 2020 are available as a PDF to the right.