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Opportunity for Input: Mississippi State Department of Health Early Intervention Program Stakeholder Meeting

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The Mississippi State Department of Health Early Intervention Program is inviting families, early intervention providers, agency representatives, and other stakeholders to an informational update of the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) and for input on the new 5-Year SSIP. This is the plan that guides the services and supports that are offered to children younger than three with disabilities and their families.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm., and you can attend either virtually or in person, but registration is required for each. This is a great opportunity for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers to give meaningful input to this Department of Health program on what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to be improved with early intervention services across the state.

First Steps EIP matches the “unique needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays, or a birth condition that could cause a developmental delay, with Early Intervention services and resources within the community”, and the program is tasked with making sure developmental services and other resources are available to families and children, including services such as screenings, evaluations and assessments, Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), Early Intervention services, and transition plans to preschool services under Part B of IDEA, or other programs. (click here for more detailed info)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires every state to submit an annual report, also known as the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR), which is used to ensure that States and other public agencies continue to implement programs designed to improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

States are also required to create a State Systemic Improvement Plan, whose purpose is to help states strengthen their infrastructure, use data to make decisions, and improve their practices so that better results are achieved for children with disabilities and their families. States must also include a wide variety of stakeholders in the development of the plan, including families, practitioners and program administrators, and involve them in identifying improvement strategies. We hope that many of you will be able to participate and to share your ideas about how to make services better, because your feedback and your ideas matter!

The meeting will be held in both in person and virtual formats. If you are interested in attending either virtually or in person you can register here. The in person meeting will be held at the UMMC Conference Center, 350 W Woodrow Wilson Ave, Jackson, MS  39213. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in person participation is limited to 40 people.

If you have a child who is younger than three years old who has challenges or if your child began experiencing challenges before age three, we encourage you to attend this meeting.  You have very valuable information that no one else has — you know what you think could help children in your child’s shoes and the kind of support families most need.  Hearing these ideas helps the early intervention staff know how to plan services in a way that is most helpful to children and their families.

We appreciate the Mississippi State Department of Health, especially the early intervention staff,  for making sure to include families in this important conversation.

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