State Initiative

States Adapt Early Intervention Approaches during COVID-19 Restrictions

May 8, 2020

Early intervention services are essential for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, but the coronavirus pandemic has added many challenges for the delivery of timely, high quality services for families.

Fortunately, many states are creating processes to allow virtual delivery and support during this critical time.

State adaptations include: • Providing service providers with access to training on virtual service delivery; • Accepting digital signatures and/or verbal consent from families for telehealth services; • Offering flexible timelines for intake; • Providing virtual child assessments and evaluations; • Offering families services through a variety of virtual platforms that maintain privacy and security; and • Modified billing to allow for payment for virtual services.

Equity is a particular issue in early intervention, as low-income children are more likely to be at risk for developmental delay or disability, but less likely to receive services. Coronavirus restrictions will likely widen the gap even more as some families may be unable to access crucial digital tools to participate in visits. While many states are allowing audio-only options, ZERO TO THREE encourages programs to consider solutions that will allow all families to engage with providers via virtual video platforms during this time.

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