Iowa IDEA Information

The Guidance System for Iowa IDEA Information (i3) site includes guidance, resources, and procedures for Early ACCESS (ages 0-3) and Special Education (ages 3-21).

Early ACCESS Procedures

Wednesday Wonders

Welcome to the Early ACCESS Wednesday Wonders

The purpose of this newsletter is to have a consistent, predictable way for Early ACCESS stakeholders to stay current on happenings as well as share information with other stakeholders such as practical advice, training announcements, video clips, and/or success stories. It is a newsletter for stakeholders, by stakeholders. If you would like to receive the newsletter via email, or if you have something you would like to contribute, contact Melissa Schnurr at or 515-281-5751.


      Resources for Early ACCESS Service Coordinators

      Early ACCESS Service Coordination Training

      This Service Coordinator Competency Training Manual outlines the service coordination training requirements for the State of Iowa.

      The online modules are one component to the SC training requirements.

      Family Guided Routines Based Intervention (FGRBI)

      Dual Role and dedicated service coordinators can use reflections tools to support their role within the FGRBI Framework. Use these tools for self-reflection of practices as well as reflection with peers to grow service coordination knowledge and skills within FGRBI.

      Setting the Stage for FGRBI: The role of the service coordinator (4:16)
      Service coordinators play a vital role in supporting families in Early ACCESS. Watch as some of Iowa’s service coordinators describe how they set the stage for families beginning intervention by describing FGRBI and by supporting families to identify key routines and priorities.

      Service Coordination Resources

      DEC/ITCA Joint Position Statement on Service Coordination in Early Intervention

      Knowledge and Skills for Service Coordinators

      DHS Information Letter No. 2012-FFS and Service Coordinator Medicaid Matrix, May 2019

      The Iowa Medicaid Enterprise has collaborated with representatives from the Iowa Department of Education, Child Health Specialty Clinics, Public Health, and the Early ACCESS program to update the Infant and Toddler Service Coordination Matrix.  The matrix includes all the activities an infant and toddler case manager will complete under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Medicaid. This informational letter establishes which services are billable to which program.

      Early ACCESS Training and Technical Assistance

      Recorded Trainings and Resources for Service Coordinators and Providers

      CHSC Early ACCESS Nutrition Training, December 2020 (17:05)

      This presentation includes information for service providers to connect families to CHSC nutrition services and reviews the process for making an Early ACCESS nutrition referral. Here are the slides with notes.

      Iowa Early ACCESS Diagnosed Conditions Eligibility List, June 2020 (07:05)

      This presentation introduces Iowa’s Diagnosed Conditions Eligibility List and reviews eligibility for Iowa’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA Part C system, known as Early ACCESS.  Here are the slides with notes.

      *The link to Iowa’s Diagnosed Conditions Eligibility list is now available on the resources section of  i3 instead of the Iowa Family Support Network as indicated in the recording.

      Using the SS-OO-PP-RR: Guiding Home Visiting during the COVID-19 Pandemic, April 2020 (13:29)

      A video was posted on the ECTA website, Using the SS-OO-PP-RR: Guiding Home Visiting during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This video discusses the use of the SS-OO-PP-RR framework for guiding home visits, whether in-person or through video conferencing, and also reviews general considerations when delivering home visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the link to the video:

      Early ACCESS Final Exit Codes, July 2019 (8:19)

      This presentation gives a brief overview for Early ACCESS service coordinators and providers on final exit codes that are used when a child and their family exits Early ACCESS. The final exit code flow chart is reviewed and additional information about exiting Early ACCESS is available on i3. Here are the slides with notes.

      Collaboration Between Community Partners and Early ACCESS

      This Guidance for Collaboration Between Community Partners & Early ACCESS is designed to promote coordination and collaboration among Early ACCESS providers and their community partners (e.g. Early Head Start, child care including family child care, home visitation programs, child welfare agency, etc.) by clarifying roles and responsibilities so appropriate expectations are understood, opportunities for connections are increased, and service duplication and gaps are addressed. An accompanying self-assessment can assist teams in identifying areas to strengthen their partnership.

      Note: To use the documents, “make a copy” in Google Drive or “download as Word”.

      Family Assessment

      Early ACCESS service coordinators and providers can use this assessment organizer to ease their selection of family assessment tools. Multiple tools can be used and chosen from different categories to best fit the family’s needs.

      Annual IFSP: Continuing Eligibility, August 2018 (11:56)

      This presentation highlights the most significant changes made to Section 15: Annual IFSP of the Early ACCESS Procedures Manual. Not all changes to this section are discussed in this presentation. It is recommended that you review Section 15 to view all of the information regarding an Annual IFSP.  Here are the slides with notes.

      Annual IFSP: Documenting Continuing Eligibility, August 2018 (15:50)

      The purpose of the presentation is to illustrate how to annually document continuing eligibility in the web IFSP. We will walk through different eligibility scenarios and point out new fields that are required. Here are the slides with notes.

      Use and Documentation of Informed Clinical Opinion, January 2017 (20:56)

      This presentation clarifies the meaning of informed clinical opinion in the context of Early ACCESS and provides information on why documenting the sources of information and the reasoning used to determine a child is eligible for Early ACCESS based on informed clinical opinion is necessary. Lastly, the presentation demonstrates where providers will document the use of informed clinical opinion in the web IFSP.  An Informed Clinical Opinion in Early ACCESS guidance document has been created to accompany this presentation. Here are the slides with notes.


      Information for Referral Sources

      This section includes frequently asked questions from professionals that make referrals to Early ACCESS.


      Early ACCESS Referral Requirements

      Question: What is the minimum information needed to make a referral to Early ACCESS?

      Answer: In order to make a referral, the parent must be informed of the referral and agree to sharing information. Required information includes:

      • Child’s name
      • Child’s date of birth
      • Gender
      • Parent/Guardian name
      • Parent/Guardian phone number
      • Best time to contact the parent

      In April of 2022, the following information will be required to make a complete referral, in addition to informing the parent of the referral:

      • Child’s first and last name
      • Child’s date of birth
      • Language spoken and interpreter needs
      • Child’s address (town and zip code are sufficient)
      • The name of one parent or person child lives with
      • Referral source name, phone number and address

      Question: Is a signed consent to release and exchange information required to make a referral to Early ACCESS?

      Answer: Verbal consent is acceptable to make a referral and share minimum information. Signed consent to release and exchange information is required if medical records are shared.

      Use this Early ACCESS Referral Card to remind families of the Early ACCESS referral.

      Early ACCESS Referral Process

      Question: How are referrals processed by the Iowa Family Support Network (IFSN) once information is provided by phone, e-mail or online through IFSN website?

      Answer: If an address is provided, the referral is sent to the corresponding Area Education Agency (AEA). The AEA will assign a local service coordinator to contact the family. The service coordinator will make a minimum of three attempts to contact the family within 14 calendar days of receiving the referral.

      If there is not an address provided, EveryStep will call the family to obtain more information and then assign to the appropriate AEA for the service coordinator to contact the family.

      There are nine AEAs that serve all of Iowa. Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC) also provides service coordination in parts of Iowa.

      If you have made a referral to an AEA and have follow up questions or concerns, contact the Early ACCESS Liaison for the AEA that child was referred to or a member of the Early ACCESS state team.

      Early ACCESS Eligibility

      Question: What is the eligibility criteria for Early ACCESS?

      Answer: To be eligible for Early ACCESS, a child living in Iowa must be under three years of age and  have a 25% delay in one or more areas of development OR have a qualifying diagnosed condition.

      Question: What makes a child automatically eligible for Early ACCESS?

      Answer: Children with certain diagnosed conditions are automatically eligible for Early ACCESS services without requiring an evaluation.

      Examples of diagnosed conditions that are automatically eligible for Early ACCESS include:

      • Preterm birth less than 32 weeks gestation
      • Very low birth weight, less than 1500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces)
      • Blood lead level of 20 mcg/dL
      • Hearing loss
      • Fetal alcohol syndrome
      • Certain genetic or congenital conditions

      This Iowa Early ACCESS Diagnosed Conditions Eligibility List includes diagnosed conditions that qualify for Early ACCESS.

      Children with diagnosed conditions not on the list should be referred to Early ACCESS so they can be screened, and/or evaluated to determine if they meet the criteria for Early ACCESS eligibility.

      Question: How will a referral source find out if a child is eligible for Early ACCESS?

      Answer: Referral results may be shared if there is a signed consent to release and exchange information provided by the referral source OR the family signed an Early ACCESS consent to release and exchange information form. For additional information after receiving referral results, contact the assigned service coordinator indicated on the letter.