|DOH Home >> Press Releases|
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. |
For Further Information Contact:
on Early Intervention Program for Special-Needs Children
Proposed changes to the program include requiring families with incomes above 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($27,600 for a family of four) to make a monthly family cost-share payment for all services they receive. A sliding fee scale will be used which will be based on the family’s ability to pay. Currently, families receive up to two hours of service a week at no cost. Under the current system, for services that exceed the two hours per week, the cost-share begins for families with incomes above 350 percent of the federal poverty level ($64,400 for a family of four).
For more information on the proposed changes, please visit the department’s web site, www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/eiphome.htm. The public hearing schedule is as follows:
Each year, the Early Intervention System serves about 14,000 children from birth to age three with developmental delays or disabilities. This includes children with autism, Down's syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, vision impairments, and general developmental delays, such as those that may be experienced by premature infants. Eligible children and families are linked with such services as developmental intervention, speech or physical therapy for children, and emotional support and educational services for parents.
The Early Intervention Program caseload has grown rapidly in recent years, averaging 15 percent growth annually. Over the past eight years, the state's contribution to the program has increased 280 percent from $14.7 million to $55.9 million. Children have also required more intensive services, leading to higher program costs. Children and families usually receive several hours of services per week. In some cases, as appropriate, 20 hours or more of services are provided weekly.
The EIP budget also was increased by $1.5 million this fiscal year bringing the total state appropriation to almost $43 million in order to help keep pace with the demand for services.
Those wishing to testify at one of the hearings should call the DHSS Early Intervention Program at (609) 777-7734 at least five days before each hearing to schedule a time to testify. Oral testimony will be limited to five minutes. Please also supply a written copy of testimony at the hearing.
Anyone unable to testify in person may submit written testimony until
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Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360