Friday, September 22, 2023

Agencies Promise ‘Seamless’ Switch For EIP Program 5.3.2006

By Rick Racela

CREST HAVEN – “Seamless” and “very smooth” are the unanimous official expectations for the transition of the county’s 25-year-old Early Intervention Program the Special Services School District will discontinue June 26.
Two out-of-county agencies have received contracts from the state Department of Health and Senior Services.  Both are expected to have offices in this county and will bring services to the homes of children with disabilities aged birth to 3. That had been a key concern.
Shirley Eves Developmental and Therapeutic Center of Millville will provide the service and intends to have an office at the new Community Health Center in Court House.
“The school district has done excellent,” said Martha Mourovic, director, “and we hope to do as good a job. Everyone will continue to be served.”
She said the agency will “plan outreach” to families currently being served.  “They will not be forgotten.”
Theracare Staffing Services, whose closest satellite is in Pennsauken, received the contract to do evaluations for the program. 
Patty Green, director of Early Intervention Clinical and Program Development at Theracare, said she is looking for office space in the county.
Jennifer Busby of the Southern New Jersey Regional Early Intervention Collaborate said Theracare “already comes here for some services the existing agency is not able to pick up.”
Barbara Makoski, Special Services superintendent, told the Herald she was “pleased” with the agencies named, calling Shirley Eves “an agency with a working knowledge of Cape May County.”
Special Services discontinued the program because it was too costly with an annual deficit of over $100,000.
When the state first ruled in February that only current providers would be considered for the contract, and there were none in Cape May County, Makoski wrote DHSS urging it “reconsider…in order to allow those agencies who have an intimate knowledge of our county to have an opportunity to provide services here.”
Terry Harrison of DHSS replied that she understood that Special Services “values local knowledge and investment in the county,” but the criteria were not changed.
Mourovic said she intends to have an open house here at a date to be named.  Makoski said Special Services has already met with Mourovic.
The program currently has some 69 children enrolled.
Busby explained this “process” for parents who are concerned about the development of their children:
Contact the Special Child Health Services at the county Health Department, 609-465-1202. It is the “point of entry” for the program and will arrange for an evaluation to determine eligibility for the program.
Green said a two-team evaluation by Theracare would be conducted at the home.
Eligibility requires a 25 percent delay in two areas of development, a 33 percent delay in one area, a diagnosis with a high probability for developmental delay, or a number of diagnoses, which the state makes automatically eligible.
Those eligible will meet with a service coordination unit that determines if any cost must be incurred. Once the family gives the go-ahead, Theracare and Shirley Evens will develop a plan for service, which will be provided in the home.
Contact Zelnik at (609) 886-8600 Ext. 27 or: jzelnik@cmcherald.com

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