AUCD's National Center on Disability in Public Health Funds Pilot Studies using Administrative Data to Evaluate "Child Find" Early Identification Systems in Indiana and Minnesota

December 9, 2021

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) has expanded its National Center on Disability in Public Health efforts with the funding of two, one-year pilot studies using administrative data to evaluate "child find" early identification systems in Indiana and Minnesota. This "child find" pilot is made possible by a cooperative agreement with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Indiana LEND (IU School of Medicine and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (IIDC - Indiana UCEDD) are collaborating on a project to examine Indiana's efforts to find and identify children birth through five years of age with developmental disabilities and their families. This exploratory investigation across Indiana's Part C (First Steps) and Part B (preschool special education) programs will examine how successfully these service systems locate and make available early intervention services to all eligible children with developmental delays and disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The goal of this exploratory effort is to discover how they might improve Indiana's efforts to find and identify its youngest children with developmental disabilities. A series of products will be developed and disseminated once the analyses are completed and will include presentations to Indiana's Part C and B leadership teams, a written report summarizing the analyses and offering recommendations for improving Indiana's Child Find and early identification efforts, a webinar presented in partnership with the Minnesota project, and a manuscript for peer-review publication.

Equitable access to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services is critical for the reduction of future delays and disabilities that affect student social, academic, and lifelong success. In partnership and collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota team (led by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota) aims to better-understand Minnesota's Child Find system in Part C and describe how access to Part C Early Intervention services affects Part B participation and student instruction in Minnesota's education system overall. The Minnesota project seeks to understand who is participating in the Part C and Part B services and what the trends are for children over time with the broader goal of informing how to engage young children and families from a variety of backgrounds in early intervention services more effectively.