What is an Individualized Family Service Plan? (IFSP)
Once your child and family are found to be eligible for Early Intervention (EI) Services, an IFSP is written. The IFSP is an important document that is at the heart of Early Intervention services, and is developed in a partnership among:
- You – who know the needs of your child and family.
- Early Intervention Staff – who will share their experience, skill, training and resources.
- Others – anyone you may want to include in the development of this plan
Together, a plan is developed which includes the goals and services that will be a part of your EI experience. The IFSP is updated at least once a year and reviewed every 6 months. Additions and changes can be made anytime you and the program agree it is necessary.
Why do we write an IFSP?
It’s important to have something in writing, which shows the work families and staff will be doing together. The IFSP is a contract that ensures services and supports to eligible children and families and includes:
- Who your child is – including assessment results, your family’s concerns, and your child’s strengths.
- What outcomes you want to achieve for your child and family.
- How to reach those outcomes together – including strategies.
- Which services are to be provided – how often, by whom, when, and where.
- Who is designated as your service coordinator, who helps to develop your plan and ensures that it is carried out, and that you receive your rights and procedural safeguards.
- What steps will be taken to assist you and your child in the transition from EI.
What is your Role?
At Early Intervention, we believe that no one knows your child as well as you. You are a partner in creating the IFSP, and it is important for you to participate in every step of the process.
You may want to think about some things as the process gets started:
- What are some of the things you and your child do everyday?
- What activities does your child enjoy doing?
- What do you need right now to support you as a family?
- What are your hopes and dreams for your child?
What is the role of EI?
A team of professionals will do a developmental assessment. Their role is to:
- Listen carefully to what you tell them.
- Share information about what they think.
- Assist you in accessing the services you and your child may need to meet your desired outcomes within the EI Program or community.
What is Next?
Together with EI staff, you decide how Early Intervention can help your child and family. Below are some examples of desired outcomes that other families have included in their IFSPs.
- “Jaquan will be able to sit up to play with toys.”
- “Caleb will look at Mom when he is sitting in his highchair.”
- “Anthony will imitate new words and begin to use single words to tell Mom what he wants.”
- “I need more time for myself.”
- “Find a playgroup in my community so Ashley can be with kids her age.”
- “I want Luis to sleep through the night.”
- “We would like to increase feeding by mouth so we can begin to work toward getting Joey off his G-tube.”
- “I would like information about sign language training for the whole family.”
Your desired outcomes may be similar or very different. They should be written in you own language, in words you understand, and with the assistance of an interpreter if needed.
How will the Outcomes be achieved?
Services are provided in natural settings such as the home, child care settings, playgroups, EI centers and other community sites. Services and supports include:
- Home visits
- Community child groups
- EI only child groups
- Parent groups
- Specialty Services
- Extended services for children with medically complex needs
Services are provided by certified Early Intervention specialists who are trained professionals skilled in facilitating child development with clinical expertise from a variety of disciplines.
If you have any questions about your IFSP, just ask. Early Intervention staff want to help.
Additional questions or concerns about the IFSP or the IFSP process may be addressed to Mary Dennehy-Colorusso, Statewide Due Process Coordinator, at (978) 851-7261, Ext. 4016, or email Mary.Dennehy-Colorusso@state.ma.us.
Early Intervention Services
250 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02108-4619