WHAT WE HAVE NOW
Since 1984, community-based programs have partnered with the state to serve children with these special needs. Arkansas fought hard to create and preserve these programs currently serving children in over 100 communities.
What the DHS proposal would do
Effective July 1, 2018, existing non-profit and for-profit providers currently serving some 19,000 children age birth to 5 across the state will be merged into one entity called “Early Intervention Day Treatment” (EIDT). The Developmental Disabilities Provider Association (DDPA) supports this merger, however, Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is proposing that children with developmental disabilities may not be served by EIDT unless they need at least “one therapy” (physical, occupational, speech), which not all of these children require. These are distinct services for which there is no clinical justification to make one dependent upon the other in order to receive treatment.
WHAT THESE CHANGES MEAN
The DHS “one-therapy rule” rule will change current eligibility requirements for these programs, cutting critical services for more than 3,300 children with special needs, all of whom are currently being served by non-profit providers. These children will become the responsibility of our state-funded programs such as ABC, Head Start, Early Head Start, public school pre-k, or regular day care programs. Within just a few years, it would mean an influx of some 10,000 children into these programs, which do not have the capacity in terms of funding, available slots, staff, transportation nor infrastructure to address these children’s special needs.