Improving the outcomes for young children and families requires bringing together organizations, schools, and community leaders to develop a shared agenda, design strategies, and develop an action plan to address the systems barriers and conditions that prevent families from accessing early childhood services. In Illinois, we refer to this collaborative process of bringing together stakeholders to develop coordinated and integrated local early childhood service delivery systems as community systems development. Stakeholder groups that come together for this purpose are called early childhood collaborations.
We couldn't be more pleased and honored to be included in our Illinois partners' vision for a statewide strategy to provide better access to services. Increasing trust and efficiencies between providers and strengthening communities means maximizing resources and capacity to serve more families and children.
Here is the full text of the joint statement on community systems, coordinated intake, and IRIS, which you can also access on the Illinois State website.
The Major Funders of Home Visiting in Illinois support the participation of home visiting programs in early childhood collaborations, coordinated intake, and the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS), which are described in more detail below. All three of these functions (early childhood collaborations, coordinated intake, and IRIS) are intended to streamline families’ access to services, including home visiting. These important functions can help home visiting programs connect with priority populations and reach their caseload capacity.
Funders recognize that programs have varying budgets and staffing patterns. In addition, the availability and type of early childhood collaborations and coordinated intake vary across the state, and IRIS is available only in selected communities. Each section below includes links to publicly-funded technical assistance supports and/or resource documents to help home visiting programs build their capacity related to these activities.
Community Systems Development and Early Childhood Collaborations
As a critical part of the early childhood landscape, home visiting programs are encouraged to participate in their local or regional early childhood collaborations, including, but not limited to the All Our Kids (AOK) Networks, Early Intervention Local Interagency Councils (LICs), and organically grown early childhood collaborations. To find a local early childhood collaboration in your area, see the Partner Plan Act collaboration directory and collaboration map. For more information or technical assistance in collaboration and community systems development, see https://www.partnerplanact.org/home.
Coordinated Intake (CI)
CI is a system for processing, monitoring and tracking enrollment into home visiting programs within a community. Through outreach with families and relationship building with community partners, CI focuses on the identification and recruitment of families who would most benefit from home visiting services. With knowledge of program capacity at the community level, CI facilitates enrollment in a home visiting program to best meet the needs of each family. When CI is working well, families are seamlessly connected with home visiting services, all agencies in the community area are at 100% caseload capacity, and families are not dually enrolled in multiple home visiting programs (Marable, 2020).
Home visiting programs that serve families in communities with Coordinated Intake are encouraged to participate in CI, so that families can have improved access to services. For more information, please see Developing Coordinated Intake For Your Community (Marable, 2020). If your community does not have Coordinated Intake for home visiting and would like to explore CI, please contact Bryce Marable at BMarable@StartEarly.org.
Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS)
IRIS is funded in selected All Our Kids (AOK) Networks and by some private funders, and it is being used in selected home visiting collaboratives through an initiative funded by the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) grant. If IRIS is already funded in your community, home visiting programs are encouraged to participate in IRIS.
For information about IRIS in Illinois, please contact Ana Maria Accove, AOK Statewide Program Coordinator at DHS, at AnaMaria.Accove@illinois.gov, or Deborah Hwang, PDG B-5 Home Visiting Project Manager at the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, at Deborah.Hwang@illinois.gov.
Illinois Action for Children. (2020). Partner Plan Act - Working Together. Retrieved from https://www.partnerplanact.org/partner/working-together
Illinois MIECHV Program. (2020). Home Visiting Coordinated Intake. Retrieved from http://www.igrowillinois.org/home-visiting-coordinated-intake/
Marable, B. (2020, August). Developing coordinated intake for your community: what it is and how to start or maintain a strong system. Retrieved from http://www.igrowillinois.org/wp- content/uploads/2020/09/Coordinated-Intake-Toolkit-August-2020-1.pdf
University of Kansas. (2020). What is IRIS. Retrieved from https://connectwithiris.org/what-is-iris/ University of Kansas. (2020). Why IRIS. Retrieved from https://connectwithiris.org/why-iris/