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Changes Made to Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Regulations
April 1, 2001

After the public comment period for the Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Regulations, which were proposed by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), Office of Mental Retardation (OMR), a new draft was developed. It has not been released to the public but OMR shared some parts of it with a group of stakeholders. According to advocates, some positive improvements were made. DPW had first said that children would get services "as soon as possible." In the revised draft, they adopted a 14-day deadline for implementing children's early intervention plans. Also, the proposed "screening" process was eliminated. Advocates had argued that this would deny some children comprehensive evaluations. The latest draft clarifies that foster parents can serve as "surrogate parents" for children who do not have families.

The staff qualifications for those who will deliver specialized instruction and service coordination to children and families, however, have not changed. Special education and disability advocates feel that the staff qualifications should be higher. Although staff are often hard to find, it is necessary to provide these young children with adequate services so that they do not require more intensive services in the future.

DPW will publish the final form regulations in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Questions about the Early Intervention Regualtions can be directed to either Lynn Keltz or Lisa Lowrie at the Association.

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