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The ifsp

The individualized family service plan (IFSP) provides the framework for early intervention, including home and community visits. The plan typically includes strengths, needs, outcomes/goals and services to be provided. The IFSP also sets the agenda for home visits.

How IFSP Goals are Identified

In Tennessee, service coordinators are dedicated to just that: coordinating services for children with special needs. This includes early intervention services.

One of their roles is working with the family and other team members to develop the IFSP.

In the Southeast District, service coordinators have been trained to conduct the Routines-Based Interview (RBI). The RBI is a clinical, semi-structured interview that (a) establishes a positive relationship with the family; (b) obtains a rich and thick description of child and family functioning; and (c) results in a list of outcomes/goals chosen by the family.

In the RBI, the interviewer asks (a) what the family's main concerns are; (b) what goes on, in great detail, during each part of the day; (c) what 6-12 things the parents would like the child or family to accomplish, with the team; and (d) what the order of importance is for those goals. The quality of goals chosen is very important for support-based home visiting to be successful.

Child and Family Goals

Goals are either child-level goals or family-level-goals. For example, a child-level goal might be "Carlos will participate in bath time, meals and play time by sitting by himself." Then, some ways to measure whether this goal is met or not can be established. For example, we know that Carlos can do this when (a) he sits by himself for five minutes (b) at bath time, one meal or play time in one day, (c) for three days in a row.

Family level goals need a minimum of one measurement criterion, too. For example, a family goal might be "Gloria and Hector will spend at least one hour together without children every two weeks for eight weeks."