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Summer 2001 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

ECI Provider Network: Champions of Service

Twenty years ago, the Texas Interagency Council on Early Childhood Intervention or ECI was the state agency designated by the Texas Legislature to provide services to families with children with disabilities and/or developmental delays. Federally and state-funded, ECI supports families to help their children reach their potential through developmental services.

Over the years, the ECI Provider Network has become the backbone of ECI, putting ECI's values, mission, and goals into action and making sure each child receives the best start in life.

Beginning with a small handful of programs, ECI's Provider Network has grown to 65 statewide programs offering services in every Texas county. As a result, families have equal access to all services that ECI offers wherever they may reside in Texas. These services may include screening and assessments; physical, occupational and speech-language therapy; and special instruction, training and counseling services.

Since 1982, ECI awarded contracts to fund services at the local level contracting with agencies and organizations in Texas. Approximately half of the ECI programs are state or local mental health and mental retardation facilities, about one quarter are with school districts or regional educational service centers, and about one quarter are nonprofit organizations. Staff from these programs may include early intervention specialists, nurses, psychologists, dieticians, paraprofessionals, teachers, social workers, and physical, occupational, speech and language therapists.

Time and time again ECI families tell stories of how staff members of the provider network have given them support, found resources, and have become a valued member of the family. "I don't know what I'd do without the ECI professionals that help my child, especially my service coordinator. She has been so helpful," said an ECI Mom. "She's like a part of the family."

In FY 2000, local ECI programs conducted intake on 33,293 new children and families. They also provided service coordination to all enrolled children (including intake) and provided transition planning to 15,299 children who were leaving ECI services for their next service setting.

In addition to providing services to eligible families, ECI programs maintain connections with clinics, hospitals, and physicians. Local ECI programs conduct public awareness activities to locate and refer all eligible children born or receiving medical treatment in a service area.

If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, call your doctor. When it comes to your child's health, getting help early is best. For more information about ECI, a local program in your area, or to refer a child call the ECI Care Line at (800) 250-2246 or (512) 424-6800 (in the Austin area), or visit the ECI website at http://www.dars.state.tx.us/ecis/index.shtml.

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Last Revision: August 10, 2005