A diverse network of agencies, organizations, parents and community members across the state of Kansas collaborate to provide a system of services for infants and toddlers and their families. The mission of this early intervention system is to provide the necessary services to facilitate the development of young children with disabilities or developmental delays. Under the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and in collaboration with the KUAP, Infant-Toddler Services has been a national leader in providing program evaluation or monitoring the early intervention system as required by Part C of IDEA. While many states are just now beginning to provide review and technical assistance follow-up of those reviews, Kansas Infant-Toddler Services began to provide support to its community networks nearly 10 years ago.
The focus of the program review process is on the identification of the strengths and needs of local community networks as they develop and build their community service systems. Infant-Toddler Services conducts network evaluation and program review at three levels. First, each community network conducts an annual selfassessment with input from families receiving services, agency or service partners, and local interagency coordinating councils. Second, an on-site visit is conducted in each network every three years. The identification of strengths and needs through the assessment and site visits gives the networks an opportunity to recognize their accomplishments and set priorities for future growth. Following the site visit, Infant-Toddler Services will then work with the community network to develop a comprehensive community plan to target areas for growth of community service and address any regulatory discrepancies. This plan also allows for the development of ongoing technical assistance when necessary.
Family members continue to be important components of the program review process. All parents of children receiving services under Part C are invited to participate in an annual review of their child’s program. Family members also contribute through participation in the community site visits. Each site visiting team includes one to three parent members. One family member who has participated in the program review process has been selected to sit on the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council where she has shared her perspective on family participation in the program review process for both state and federal level “monitoring”.
The KUAP staff responsible for facilitating the program review process are Vicki Turbiville and Wayne Sailor in Lawrence, and David Lindeman and Susan Jack in Parsons. Each year they coordinate parents, providers, and Infant-Toddler Services staff for site visits in twelve communities. They also facilitate the annual community self-assessments data analysis and work with Infant-Toddler Services to assist communities in their efforts to provide quality services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.