What is Child and Family Connections?

Child and Family Connections (CFC) is a statewide system established to ensure that children under the age of three referred to the Early Intervention (EI) System receive a timely response in a professional and family-centered manner. There are 25 CFC programs throughout the state. Each CFC is responsible for implementation of the EI Services System within their specific geographic region of the state. CFC #20 is the regional point of contact for the following eleven counties in south central Illinois:

  1. Bond
  2. Christian
  3. Clay
  4. Crawford
  5. Effingham
  6. Fayette
  7. Jasper
  8. Lawrence
  9. Macoupin
  10. Montgomery
  11. Richland

What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention (EI) is a statewide program that provides supports and services for families with infants and toddlers from birth to 36 months with developmental delays or disabilities or who are at risk for developmental delays. The primary goal of EI is to support families in promoting their child’s optimal development and to facilitate the child’s participation in family and community activities. EI is voluntary and it is up the family to decide whether they want participate in the program. Early intervention services are designed to meet needs in the following areas of development:

  1. Physical (how your baby moves and explores)
  2. Cognitive (how your baby learns)
  3. Communication (how your baby lets you know what he needs)
  4. Social and emotional (how your baby engages with you and shows feelings)
  5. Adaptive (how your baby uses new skills)

EI services may include:

  1. Assistive technology
  2. Audiology/aural rehabilitation
  3. Developmental therapy/special instruction
  4. Family training and support
  5. Health consultation
  6. Medical services (only for diagnostic or evaluation purposes)
  7. Nursing
  8. Nutrition
  9. Occupational therapy
  10. Physical therapy
  11. Psychological/counseling services
  12. Service coordination
  13. Sign language or cued language
  14. Social work
  15. Speech language pathology
  16. Transportation
  17. Vision
  18. Translation/interpretation to other languages

Who should refer a child?

Referrals to Child & Family Connections can be made by a family member, doctor, health department, day care provider, or anyone concerned about the development of a child who is less than 36 months old.

Although anyone can refer a child to Early Intervention (EI), primary referral sources are required by federal rule to make referrals to the child’s local Child and Family Connections (CFC) office no more than five (5) working days after a potentially eligible child is identified. Primary referral sources include, but are not limited to:

Hospitals, including perinatal and post-natal care facilities;
Child care programs and early learning programs, including Early Head Start programs;
Local educational agencies and schools;
Public health facilities;
Homeless family shelters; and
Domestic violence shelters and agencies.

What information is requested when a referral is made?

Child’s name and date of birth

Guardian’s contact name, address, and telephone number

Suspected delay or reason for referral

To be eligible, your child:

1) Must be under 36 months,


2) Have a physician’s diagnosis of a physical or mental condition that causes a developmental delay,
Have an identifiable developmental delay of 30% or more in at least one area of the developmental domains (cognitive, physical, communication, social or emotional, or adaptive),
Be at risk of substantial developmental delay because of certain risk factors.

If you believe your child may be eligible for Illinois Early Intervention Program services…

  • Call your local Child and Family Connections (CFC) office to begin the “intake” process. Once you contact the CFC, they will assign a service coordinator to contact to talk with you about your child’s development. He or she will schedule free evaluations of your child’s development. After your child is determined to be eligible, the service coordinator will serve as your personal contact through the entire time your child receives Illinois Early Intervention Program services.

The Illinois Early Intervention Program: A Guide for Families

This family guide includes information on the Illinois Early Intervention (EI) Program, why EI services are important, how to find out whether your child is eligible for the EI program, starting and leaving EI services, your legal rights, and questions frequently asked by families.

See: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/OneNetLibrary/27897/documents/Brochures/4279R0518.pdf

What does Early Intervention Cost?

Evaluations to determine eligibility for EI supports and services are always free. Planning and coordinating services for an eligible child and family are always free.

If your child is determined eligible for participation in EI services, there may be a fee based on income and family size. EI supports and services are paid by a variety of funding sources including the EI program, the family’s private or public (such as Medicaid or All Kids) insurance.

CFC Functions

All CFC activities are conducted in ways that are consistent with FERPA and HIPAA. Service coordination is an active, ongoing process that involves assisting parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities in gaining access to, and coordinating the provision of, the EI services required under this part; and coordinating the other services identified in the IFSP under § 303.344(e) that are needed by, or are being provided to, the infant or toddler with a disability and that child’s family.

The CFC functions as the electronic link between the CFC region and the Central Billing Office (CBO) via the state Cornerstone system. Client referral information is stored electronically in Cornerstone and routine updates are made based upon information obtained and decisions made with respect to eligibility, service planning, and service delivery through development and implementation of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

All staff employed as Service Coordinators by a CFC are required to obtain an EI credential prior to providing services to families.

CFC activities include:

Receiving referrals;

Developing, maintaining, and processing the permanent EI case record;

Providing families with information about the EI Services System, including accurate and timely information regarding choices or options and thorough information about rights, procedural safeguards (see Chapter 6 – Disputes), available advocacy services and opportunities and responsibilities under federal and state law;

Facilitating and participating in the IFSP development within 45 days after the initial date of referral also reviewing, monitoring, evaluating and updating;

Conducting and completing intake;

Coordinating the provision of EI and non-EI services and other services (such as educational, social and medical services that are not provided for diagnostic or evaluative purposes) that the child needs or is being provided for enrolled families;

Ensuring completion of initial and annual eligibility determination, including insurance and financial information;

Complying with family fee policies;

Coordinating evaluations and assessments necessary for development of IFSPs;

Completing current EI levels of development/child outcome ratings.

Conducting referral and other activities to assist families in identifying available EI providers;
Monitoring that the integrity of the IFSP process is maintained and completed.

What is an IFSP?

An evaluation will be conducted by at least two evaluators. The evaluators will work with the service coordinator and family to determine the child’s eligibility for the program as well as to determine the child’s developmental strengths and challenges.

If the child is eligible, and Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be developed to identify meaningful, functional outcomes for the child and family and the services that will help the family achieve those outcomes.

The frequency, intensity and location for service deliver will be discussed at this time.

Additional Resources:

Find our Office
Child & Family Connections #20 Facebook Page
View Our Brochure
CFC Standard Referral Form

Debbie Einhorn

Director of Family Support

  217-705-4300 Ext. 8016

Rita Wahl

Child & Family Connections Manager

  217-705-4300 Ext. 4442

Leasa Mattka

CFC Cornerstone Liaison

  217-705-4300 Ext. 3512