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Early Childhood Transition: Effective Approaches for Building and Sustaining State Infrastructure. Indiana’s Transition Initiative for Young Children and Families Dawn Downer, First Steps Director Sheron Cochran, 619 Coordinator December 3, 2007.

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Early childhood transition effective approaches for building and sustaining state infrastructure
Early Childhood Transition: Effective Approaches for Building and Sustaining State Infrastructure

Indiana’s Transition Initiative for Young Children and Families

Dawn Downer, First Steps Director

Sheron Cochran, 619 Coordinator

December 3, 2007


Indiana s transition initiative for young children and families
Indiana’s Transition Initiative for Young Children and Families

TOPICS

  • Background

  • Infrastructure

  • Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes

  • How Initiative Fosters Quality Control and Compliance

  • Lessons Learned


Background
Background Families

  • Indiana sent a State Team to the 1999 National Transition Forum held in Lexington, KY.

  • The State Team agreed to adopt Project STEPS (Sequenced Transition to Education in the Public Schools) Model. We developed a work plan.

  • DOE and First Steps jointly funded the initiative with a budget of $96,000 in the first year. DOE funded the most recent fiscal cycle with a grant of $129,582.

  • Even back in 1999, research evidence showed that a community-wide transition system is necessary to ensure positive and effective transition experiences.


Background1
Background Families

  • A lot has changed since 1999, but the STEPS philosophy is the same for Indiana:

    • An interagency team that assesses the needs of the whole community, while ensuring the successful movement of children and families between and among agencies.

    • Collaboratively developed policies and procedures that enable all agencies to achieve compliance with regulations.

    • Inclusion of four critical components for implementing effective transitions: administrative supports; staff involvement and training; help for families, and child preparation.

    • Change at the local level that is supported and facilitated at the state level.


Infrastructure
Infrastructure Families

  • State Transition Team

    • See Brochure for State Team members.

    • Vision, guiding principles, ground rules, interagency structure, parent involvement, work plan, meeting structure. Follow STEP philosophy.

    • State Transition Coordinator facilitates state team work and provides local team facilitation and work plan development. The State Transition Staff ( 1 Coordinator and 2 regional facilitators) provide technical assistance, either directly or indirectly, to teams in all 92 counties.


Infrastructure1
Infrastructure Families

  • Local Transition Teams

    • Transition team participation is voluntary. State Transition Staff and the Transition Initiative offer resources to assist teams. Local teams determine how to configure themselves (community, county, multi-county). Local teams develop action plans.

    • Local Memorandums of Understanding are in place. First Steps System Points of Entries and Head Start agencies must have procedures in place which may be in the form of an MOU.

    • Small “Local Learning Opportunity Grants” of up to $200 are made available to support local transition efforts.


Strategies leading to successful transition outcomes
Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes Families

  • Policy Clarification: A State Transition Team Representative from First Steps and from Part B jointly developed transition guidelines and policy clarifications. The Transition Coordinator and staff helps the State Team to identify issues and helps local teams work through procedural issues and barriers.

  • Data collection and analysis: First Steps and Part B share transition data and do follow-up with our local agencies when data is questionable; Transition staff have reviewed the local MOU and provided feedback to local teams. Transition staff analyzed and reported results of parent surveys. The Head Start Partnership Office has reported on Head Start Agencies transition practices.


Strategies leading to successful transition outcomes1
Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes Families

  • Personnel Development: State Team Members traveled to all nine First Steps Clusters to share agency specific information that will assist local teams; The 619 Coordinator has spoken to First Steps System Point of Entry Supervisors and First Steps Director has spoken to Early Childhood Administrators; Transition Staff presented at state wide conferences such as IAEYC, Head Start Association, and parent organizations, and Ready Schools Conferences. Transition staff provide technical assistance to local teams.


Strategies leading to successful transition outcomes2
Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes Families

  • Collaborative Activities and Products:

    • The State Team identified need for a state-wide transition DVD. This product was developed with funds from Indiana’s State Improvement Grant. [Material to help parents]

    • “Transition to Early Childhood Special Education A Guide for Parents of Children with Disabilities Who Are Turning Three” booklet jointly developed. [Material to help parents]

    • A Transition Web Site maintained by Transition Staff is linked to State Team Member Web Sites. The web site disseminates information to those interested in transition as team members, professionals, and families. Last year there were 31,029 requests for web site information. Locally developed products are on the web site.


Strategies leading to successful transition outcomes3
Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes Families

  • Collaborative Activities and Products:

    • Indiana’s Interagency Memorandum of Agreement Regarding Provision of Services to Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families 2006.

    • The State Transition Coordinator facilitated the work of the parties to the agreement. There were seven signatory agencies. Specific roles and responsibilities for transition are addressed.


Strategies leading to successful transition outcomes4
Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes Families

  • Collaborative Activities and Products:

    • Transition to Preschool and Transition toKindergarten Back Packs in English and Spanish.

      [Material to help prepare child and family]

      • Six Agencies on the State Team collaborated to fund this activity. Each backpack contains reusable material designed to support children and families experience a positive transition experience. See display. These back packs are available from local agencies and every library in the State.


Strategies leading to successful transition outcomes5
Strategies Leading to Successful Transition Outcomes Families

  • Collaborative Activities and Products:

    • Jointly Developed Position Statement on Transition of Young Children signed by agency heads.

      • The State Team felt it was important to demonstrate commitment from top level administrators.


How transition initiative fosters quality control and compliance
How Transition Initiative Fosters Quality Control and Compliance

  • How are we doing:

    • We are not there yet, but statistics are improving.

      • Part B -- % of children referred by Part C prior to age three, who are found eligible for Part B, and who have an IEP developed and implemented by their third birthdays.

        • 04: 84% 05: 96%

      • First Steps -- % of children exiting Part C and potentially eligible for Part B had a Transition Conference meeting within 90-180 days prior to third birthday.

        • 04: 93% 05: 96%


How transition initiative fosters quality control and compliance1
How Transition Initiative Fosters Quality Control and Compliance

  • Frequent Communication between agencies

  • Part C and Part B personnel sit on each others Advisory Group and are invited to participate in stakeholder groups.

  • Part C and Part B share data for monitoring purposes.

  • Transition Coordinator and staff bring transition concerns back to specific state team members for follow-up.

  • Share compliance reports and transition concerns with one another.

  • Commitment to discuss policies and procedures prior to implementation and provide opportunity for input.


Lessons learned
Lessons Learned Compliance

  • It takes time to develop trust at both the state and local team level.

  • Monthly meetings seem to foster team work better than quarterly meetings.

  • A team needs procedures and strategies in place to transition in new members when experienced members leave the team.

  • Keep teams thinking about vision and mission.

  • Support development of resources to assist local teams. Keep new products coming.

  • Teams need to develop clear operating guidelines so that responsibility does not fall on one agency or person.

  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.


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