What is early intervention?
In 1986 the US Congress mandated federal funding to the youngest members of our society to secure their futures. Each state is provided federal grants for infants and toddlers with special needs to boost their development and lessen their developmental delays. In South Carolina the lead agency who administers the funding is the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
Within DHEC is the BabyNet program who determines who is eligible for early intervention based on criteria developed by the federal government. Once eligible, a family is referred out for services and may receive intensive developmental instruction that will help their child reach milestones by building on the strengths of the family and child.
What is the cost of this service?
There is no cost to families for early intervention services, regardless of a family’s income. These services are mandated by federal law and are publicly funded through the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs and Medicaid.
Why early intervention?
With proper intervention, a child can overcome a wide range of developmental, behavioral, and learning problems. Intensive, well designed and timely intervention can improve the prospects—and the quality of life—for many children who are considered at risk for cognitive, social, or emotional impairment. In some cases, effective intervention can improve conditions once thought to be virtually untreatable, such as autism.
Well-implemented programs can brighten a child’s future and the impact a developmental disorder has on the family. It can lead a child to greater independence, enable that child to be included in his/her community, and offer him/her a more productive and fulfilling life.
What does Bright Start provide?
- Home visits
- Developmental assessments
- Referrals to community resources and services
- Infant and child massage instruction
- Service coordination
- Family training
- Play groups