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Service coordination is an active, ongoing process that involves: assisting an eligible child and their family in gaining access to, and coordinating the provision of early intervention services; using family-centered practices in all contacts with families; and coordinating the services identified in the IFSP that are needed by, or are being provided to, the eligible child and family.

Service coordination is provided by the service coordinator who is appointed to a family after a referral is received.  The service coordinator is a member of the IFSP team. 

Roles of a Service Coordinator as a Representative of the Early ACCESS System

  1. Partner with each family in continuously seeking the appropriate services, resources and supports necessary to benefit the development of each child being served for the duration of the child’s eligibility. 
  2. Assist the family in accessing early intervention services and resources from a variety of informal supports and/or formal community agencies or providers. 
  3. Facilitate communication among early intervention service providers across agencies, resulting in a more coordinated and responsive delivery system. 
  4. Use family-centered practices in all contacts with families.
  5. Assure the development and implementation of the IFSP within the required timelines.

Additional information on Family-Centered Principles and Practice

Responsibilities of a Service Coordinator

  • Explaining the system of services and resources called Early ACCESS
  • Assisting parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities in obtaining access to needed early intervention services and other services identified in the IFSP, including making referrals to providers outside the Early ACCESS system for needed services and assisting parents in scheduling appointments for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families
  • Coordinating the provision of early intervention 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
  • Coordinating evaluations and assessments
  • Facilitating and participating in the development, review, and evaluation of IFSPs
  • Conducting referral and other activities to assist families in identifying available early intervention service providers
  • Coordinating, facilitating, and monitoring the delivery of required services to ensure that the services are provided in a timely manner
  • Conducting follow-up activities to determine that appropriate early intervention services are being provided
  • Informing families of their rights and procedural safeguards
  • Coordinating the funding sources for services
  • Facilitating the development of a transition plan to preschool, school, or, if appropriate, to other services

Service coordination varies both among families and within any given family over time. How often service coordination is provided must be responsive to the changing child and family needs.

Required Training for Service Coordinators

All new Early ACCESS service coordinators must successfully complete the statewide training requirements. The training program includes different training formats to reflect the background and knowledge of trainees, including those persons who are state-licensed professionals whose scope of practice includes service coordination.

The online competency-based learning modules provide content related to knowledge and understanding of eligible children, Iowa Administrative Rules for Early ACCESS, the nature and scope of Early ACCESS services in the state, and service coordination responsibilities and strategies.

The link to the password-protected online learning modules is: