In 1999, the Early Childhood Center was asked by the Indiana Family and Social Services Agency, Indiana’s Part C lead agency, to develop and implement a statewide evaluation system for measuring the impact of its First Steps Early Intervention System for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The ECC designed and implemented an ongoing, statewide, outcomes-based evaluation system beginning November 2002. Since that time, the purpose of this project has been to assist First Steps in measuring the impact of early intervention on children with disabilities and their families. Each year, ECC collects and analyzes data on the federally-required child and family outcomes, and assists the state in completing its federal reports.
The project's data collection efforts have evolved over time. Currently, ECC uses an online survey which enables designated First Steps staff to electronically enter both entry and exit data on all children and families when they leave the First Steps early intervention system. The entry data is taken from the initial Family Assessment conducted prior to the family’s first Individual Family Service Plan, and sections of the IFSP. Exit data is collected from the Exit Interview that occurred prior to the family’s transition from First Steps. Along with this family survey data, the state electronically sends demographic data on all children and families entering/exiting First Steps on a monthly basis. This data is matched with the survey data and enables ECC staff to create a variety of reports for the state. ECC staff is also able to create state reports and assist the state in completing its annual federal reporting requirements.