Statewide policies to improve early intervention services: Promising practices and preliminary results


  • Miriam Kuhn University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Courtney Boise University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Sue Bainter Nebraska Department of Education
  • Cindy Hankey Nebraska Department of Education



home visits, program implementation, educational policy, mixed methods research


The State of Nebraska Co-Lead agencies, who are responsible for developing statewide early intervention policies, rolled out professional development for two evidence-based strategies across several pilot sites. Implications of these strategies for child/family assessment, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, and Early Intervention service delivery were examined utilizing family (n=30) and professional interviews (n=50), and analyses of IFSPs (n=30). The results of this mixed method study indicate widespread strategy implementation with fidelity fosters early working relationships with families and enables teams to generate, using family members’ own words, a robust group of high-quality child and family IFSP outcomes. Family engagement in planning services such as identifying service providers and setting the frequency and length of home visits was limited. In addition, further professional development is needed to strengthen use of routines-based interventions during home visits and promote family-professional collaboration to monitor child/family progress. Implications for systematic scale-up of evidence-based practices as a function of state policy implementation are reported.


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Author Biographies

Miriam Kuhn, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dr. Kuhn is an associate professor in Early Childhood Inclusive Education and nationally certified school psychologist.  Her research interests center around effective family-professional partnerships for supporting infants/toddlers with disabilities as well as young children with challenging behaviors.  

Courtney Boise, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Boise is a postdoctoral research associate with the Early Learning Network. Her research interests include the promotion of family-school partnerships in early childhood and the interplay between dyadic relationships, executive function, and the development of children's social-emotional skills. 

Sue Bainter, Nebraska Department of Education

Ms. Bainter is a coordinator and coach for the Routines Based Interview and the Getting Ready Approach within Nebraska’s Birth-3 statewide professional development implementation plan for early intervention services. She provides services Birth-21 as an occupational therapist for Seward Public Schools in Nebraska, and holds a Master’s degree in Special Education.

Cindy Hankey, Nebraska Department of Education

Dr. Hankey is an Early Intervention state training coordinator for the state of Nebraska.  She has an MA in Speech, Language Pathology and a doctorate in Elementary Education Early Childhood Special Education.




How to Cite

Kuhn, M., Boise, C., Bainter, S., & Hankey, C. (2020). Statewide policies to improve early intervention services: Promising practices and preliminary results. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 148.