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What You Need to Know about the Individualized Family Service Plan

The Individualized Family Service Plan is the roadmap that guides your family to make sure your child reaches developmental milestones. The IFSP includes all resources and services your child and family will receive. It is extremely important to know exactly what the IFSP is, what it includes, and what you can do to help in the writing of your IFSP. Here is the information that you will need to know about an Individualized Family Service Plan.

What is the Individualized Family Service Plan? The IFSP is a written plan of the early intervention services that your child/your family will receive. One of the most important aspects of an IFSP to remember is that it is focused on the whole family, meaning it will work best if the whole family participates. A child can develop, grow, and reach milestones if all family members are willing to contribute and use their strengths and skills to help instill those strengths and skills in the child. Obviously, the parents will be the strongest contributors, but there may also be other team members, depending on what the child needs. These team members may include therapists, child development specialists, or social workers.

What is included in an IFSP? Your IFSP will include the following items:

  • Your child’s present level of functioning and needs

  • Family information

  • Major goals and outcomes you expect your child/family to achieve

  • The early intervention services your child will receive

  • The location in which the services will be provided

  • When the services will be provided

  • The number of days/sessions your child will receive and how long each session will be

  • Service payment information

  • Name of the service coordinator

  • Steps that should be taken to support your child’s transition out of early intervention when the time comes

  • Other services your family might be interested in (financial information, helpful tips)

  • Full explanation of IFSP to parents from the service coordinator

  • Any of your suggestions and written consent

How can you help? The easiest way that you can help in the writing of the IFSP is by providing as much information as you can about your child and his or her needs. You should provide your service coordinator with the following information:

  • Your family routine

  • Family challenges

  • Concerns about your child

  • Your child’s strengths

  • Activities your child and family enjoy

  • Resources and supports your child and family need

What happens after your IFSP is written? After you have given your consent, the IFSP will be implemented. All of the services and resources discussed will begin. The IFSP is reviewed every 180 days; during this review, you and your service coordinator can reflect on progress and develop new outcomes. Remember that at any time during the process, you have the right to decline any services you deem unnecessary. Just because you decline one service, does not mean you will not have access to other early intervention services.

The most important thing when it comes to the IFSP is making sure you stay as involved and up-to-date as possible. Share any information that you believe is important with your service coordinator. Work closely with your coordinator and your family to continue to reach developmental milestones and create new goals for your child.


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