February 2021Vol. 22, No. 2Children in Out-of-Home Care Are Less Likely to Receive Early Intervention or Special Education Serv
A recent report from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families presents information on early intervention and special education trends among children in out-of-home care. According to the report, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act allows each state to set the criteria for eligibility for early intervention services for children younger than 3 years old and special education services for children 3 years of age and older. Children who meet the criteria for receiving special education services should have an individualized education plan for receiving special education, and those meeting the criteria for early intervention services should have an individualized family services plan for receiving early intervention. In addition, the Keeping Children Safe Act requires states to implement procedures for referring children under 3 years old who have experienced maltreatment to early intervention services.
The report goes on to note that, according to the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, which is a nationally representative study of children involved with child welfare in the United States, children ages 0 to 2 who have been placed in nonrelative foster care are more likely to have a developmental delay (37 percent) than those placed in formal kinship care (22 percent) and voluntary kinship care (26 percent). Among children ages 3 to 17, developmental, cognitive, or academic needs were identified for 29 percent of children placed in nonrelative foster care, 36 percent of children placed in formal kinship care, and 21 percent of children placed in voluntary kinship care.
In addition, among children who have been identified as having a condition that would potentially qualify them for early intervention or special education services, their caregivers reported that half or fewer of those children received an individualized family services plan for early intervention services or an individualized education plan for special education services. Having unmet early intervention and special education needs is particularly prevalent among children who are living in voluntary kinship care, but these deficiencies can be seen in all types of out-of-home care.
The report, Child Well-Being Spotlight Children Living in Kinship Care and Nonrelative Foster Care Are Unlikely to Receive Needed Early Intervention or Special Education Services, can be found on the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation website.