Early Intervention Back in Illinois, Following COVID-19 Freeze

Young children and their families enrolled in Early Intervention (EI) in Illinois will once again be able to receive supportive services after a temporary freeze due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Early Intervention provides in-home supportive services for children (birth through age three) with developmental delays or disability. EI services include speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, assistive technology, and more. 

According to newly released policies and procedures, EI “Live Video Visit” telehealth services will go into effect April 7, 2020 and will continue only until the Illinois state of emergency is lifted. 

Once EI providers have completed a mandatory telehealth training, they may use any platform with the exception of public-facing platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram, etc). To help ensure confidentiality for families, Live Video Visits will require additional consent forms, prohibit recording of any session, and require use of secured email and devices by providers.  

For families that are interested in Live Video Visits, visit EI Clearinghouse to learn more about the process, including assistance with accessing technology and reduced-cost broadband wireless. Families can opt out of Live Video Visit services without impacting their current IFSP. In these cases, services will be delayed until in-person options are available. 

Until now, the state had not approved the provision of any EI service through a telehealth platform, despite growing waitlists and provider shortages. Legal Council will continue to monitor the implementation of EI telehealth services during the COVID-19 crisis to better understand strengths, weaknesses, and determine the potential value to families after the pandemic ends. We will continue to provide updates as DHS rolls out EI Live Video Visits.