Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Service Coordinators as Evaluators

I need some insight and thought you can help. We are facing some challenges at the Early Intervention System in XXXX because of service provider shortages. We never seem to have enough service providers … We’ve been brainstorming alternatives because the way our system was conceptualized is that our service providers use some of their time to do initial child assessments before the IFSP meeting and I would prefer that they use their time to provide services!!!!

We have a group of Service Coordinators that have different educational backgrounds (ex., Social Workers, Pschology, Counseling, etc.) All of them have a Bachelor Degree and most have been working for the EI System for an average of 3 yrs. and it is my perception that they have the skills to carry out child assessments. Would it be appropriate to train Service Coordinators so that they can do the initial Curriculum Based Assessment? We use the HELP (Hawaii Early Learning Profile). I checked the Regulations and they basically talk about state licenses and certifications regarding providing services but I’m not sure if it also applies to the assessment process?????

Are your service coordinators just service coordinators, not providers? If so, by and large, they are not necessarily trained early interventionists; most importantly, sometimes they are not trained in child development or disabilities (see McWilliam, 2006). On the other hand, neither was I when I was doing child assessments as a home visitor. And the HELP does not require any kind of licensure. So my conclusion is that, if the service coordinator knows child development and disabilities, he or she can do the evaluation. You are talking about evaluation for eligibility, aren’t you? If so, remember they are just trying to answer the question in or out? If your state allows the HELP, then they’re not that particular about the exactitude of the evaluation, since the HELP isn’t norm referenced. So that’s another argument for allowing the SCs to do the evals, if they’re knowledgeable. The Part C regs do not prevent service coordinators or anyone else from doing the evals.

McWilliam, R. A. (2006). What happened to service coordination? Journal of Early Intervention, 28, 166-168.