December 6, 2019
New Report Details Inequality in State’s Early Intervention Program
According to a new report CCC has co-written with Advocates for Children of New York, inadequate funding from New York State has caused major racial and socio-economic disparities in access to Early Intervention services.
Early Intervention provides evaluations and services children under age three with developmental delays and disabilities and their families, providing speech therapy, physical therapy, and other critical services.
The report, titled “Early Inequities: How Underfunding Early Intervention Leaves Low-Income Children of Color Behind”, found disparities in access to Early Intervention evaluations and services vary by borough, neighborhood demographics, and race.
History of the program
When New York State’s Early Intervention program was launched in 1992, it was praised as a model for the rest of the country
However, over the past two decades, inadequate State investment has put children’s access to the program at risk. After years of stagnant payment rates and multiple cuts imposed by the State, agencies in New York City and around the State have closed their EI programs.
Even after Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided a modest rate increase in the 2019-2020 fiscal year for occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists, payment rates for EI providers are still lower than they were in the 1990s.
Impact of the Cuts
To check out additional maps, graphs, data, interviews with families, and more, download the full report here.
A growing number of families are being told their children will have to wait for services because no providers are available.
In 2018, 1 out of every 4 children found eligible for EI services in New York State did not receive services in the legally required time frame, losing valuable opportunities to address their developmental delays.
In the Bronx, for instance, 61% of children found eligible for EI services received them by the 30-day legal deadline — less than in any other borough.
Children Are “Dropping Off” Before Receiving Services
Our analysis examined the data tracking children’s progress through the EI program — from referral, to evaluation, to eligibility determination, to receiving services.
Typical progression through the Early Intervention program:
Referral Evaluation Eligibility Services Received
Our analysis found:
Dropoff Point No. 1: Referral to Evaluation
On average across New York City, the citywide dropoff rate between referral and evaluation is 11.9%.
However, this average fluctuates significantly depending on race.
Drop-off Point 1: Referral to Evaluation
The neighborhoods where children who are referred for EI evaluations are least likely to receive evaluations are consistently low-income communities of color. Over the course of three years, the largest average drop-off rates between referral and evaluation were in:
Drop-Off Point #2: Eligibility to Service Receipt
The average citywide drop-off rate between evaluation and receiving services is 5.4%.
Again, this average fluctuates based on race.
Drop-off Point 2:Eligibility to Services Received
The neighborhoods with the lowest percentages of EI-eligible children receiving any services are primarily—though not exclusively—low-income communities of color. Between 2016 and 2018, the neighborhoods with the largest average drop-offs from eligibility determination to service receipt were:
What Can New York State and City Do
Our report outlines several steps State and City leaders can take to address these disparites.
New York State should:
New York City should:
Take Action Today!Urge Gov Cuomo To End Disparities In Accessing Early Intervention Services