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October, 2012

Dear Friends of the Early Intervention Program for Children with Special Needs,

The Governor’s proposed budget for 2012 included a number of restrictions that would have had a negative effect on service to children with special needs. Those proposals were defeated because of the number of people who expressed concerns that children would be hurt by these changes.

Two of those defeated proposals have been reintroduced in a Department of Health (DOH) proposal. Interestingly, the DOH is directly responsible to the NYS legislators who publically voted them down several months ago because thousands of voters objected.

The current proposals prevent the agencies of evaluation teams from doing therapy for clients they evaluated. This is the same as having a doctor give you a diagnosis and then having to find another doctor to treat your illness!

Parents will not be able to select the agency they have a relationship with to provide services for their child. Even if your child is already in therapy with an agency, and needs an additional evaluation, you will not be able to have that supplemental evaluation done by the agency you know and trust—and who knows your child best.

A wide number of agencies will drop their evaluation teams because they will not be able to afford the cost. (The State reimbursement rate for evaluations is less than the cost of doing the evaluation.) Fewer evaluation teams, will cause very long delays—possibly as long as months of delaysin scheduling evaluations—and that causes more delays in getting services started for children in need.

The second proposal prevents agencies with service coordinators from doing therapy for families the service coordinator has worked with. If this is passed, agencies will drop service coordinators because they will have no way to pay them. The State reimbursement rate for service coordination only covers 20% of their required work.) This will cause even longer delays in getting therapy services to our children because service coordinators do the paperwork and work with the families to get services identified, started and delivered.

We are asking you to contact your legislators, sign an online petition or sign a letter asking them to defeat the DOH proposals regarding evaluations and service coordination.

Thank you for your support of our children!

I object to the Department of Health proposals restricting Early Intervention therapy for agencies doing evaluations and service coordination.

This arms-length restriction will force agencies to stop doing evaluations and service coordination because they will not be able to afford them.

This will cause long delays in getting therapy services to children in need.

Some information on the Early Intervention program:

The Early Intervention program provides therapy for children with special needs age birth to 3. This is a federally mandated program that says that all children ages from birth up to 3 years who qualify on the basis of significant developmental delays or disorders can receive services to address those needs at no cost to the family.

Research clearly demonstrates that for every dollar spent on these children at this age, NYS saves $17.07 over the long term.

Research clearly demonstrates that children who have been in the Early Intervention program: stay in school longer, have higher graduation rates, higher literacy levels, higher employment levels, less juvenile delinquency and less crime than children who do not get this help!

This program saves lives and saves money!


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