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The Importance of Early Intervention

November 12, 2021

Early intervention defined

Early intervention is an umbrella term for services and programs available to parents with children who need a little extra help reaching developmental milestones. A primary goal of early intervention is to provide help for children who are “at-risk” due to various environmental factors. By identifying potential roadblocks at their earliest stages, children have a better chance at growing into their best possible selves.

Early intervention requirements are complex and vary depending on location.

A child must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to receive government-funded early intervention services. These requirements can vary from state to state, and even county to county. That said, even if an organization doesn’t offer a sanctioned early intervention program, nonprofits can still offer a similar set of services intended to help children hit their milestones.

Why does early intervention matter?

Early intervention can give children the support they need to grow into healthy, independent adults.

Kids who receive services are less likely to develop secondary conditions later in life. Furthermore, they tend to have strong social skills and sense of self. By building a firm foundation from a young age, children are better equipped to handle future milestones as they progress through the education system and life in general.

Early intervention can help identify significant environmental challenges, like abuse.

In many cases, parenting style has little to do with a child hitting milestones. Unfortunately, in other instances, if a child is struggling with behavioral health challenges, it might indicate serious problems at home. Abusive environments can create substantial developmental delays, and professionals in early intervention programs are well-equipped to spot red flags and take action if needed.

Early intervention best practices

The ultimate early intervention best practice is to remember that every family is unique and will require custom support. That said, there are a few keys to creating effective early intervention plans case managers should keep in mind:

  1. Early intervention professionals can help families, but constant adults in a child’s life have the greatest influence. Case managers and behavioral health specialists focus on assisting the child using a family-based approach. Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP) might involve providing resources and aid to parents so they can better support their child. The ultimate goal of early intervention is to set a child up for success, and that process requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.
  2. Exposure to real-world environments better equips the family after completing their IFSP. Rather than focusing solely on providing services in-home or at a facility, try to incorporate real-world environments as possible. Depending on a family’s plan for childcare and education, it may be beneficial to try taking trips to stores or creating mock classrooms. That way, the family is prepared to navigate real-world scenarios after they exit an early intervention program.
  3. Always treat clients with patience, compassion, and respect. Meeting your clients where they are can make all the difference. In order for a family to thrive in an early intervention program, they must trust their care team.

Coordinating family services involves a lot of moving parts. With the right case management software, nonprofits can save time on client intakes, improve service delivery, and create better outcomes. CaseWorthy is a scalable solution that makes it easy to enroll clients in programs. Our software has a unique family view so you can break down data by individual family member or get a broader picture of the whole unit.

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