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  March 27, 2000

Researchers to Study Services
for Developmentally Disabled

A $2.5 million grant from the federal Department of Education will help a team of Health Center researchers determine the best ways parents of young children with developmental disabilities can find the care and resources they need.

This five-year, national initiative will be led by the Division of Child & Family Studies at the Health Center.

Services to young children with developmental disabilities and those at risk for disabilities are provided by early intervention programs. The Health Center researchers will specifically examine the role of "service coordinators" - the professionals who directly link families with resources.

States have adopted various different models for service coordination. In Connecticut, services are coordinated by providers in the Birth to Three program.

The study will carefully weigh the various approaches to service coordination across the country, and evaluate strengths and weaknesses.

"Service coordination is the linchpin of quality intervention. When families know where to turn for help, and how to access those services, children are served best," says Mary Beth Bruder, director of the division of Child and Family Studies at the Health Center and principal investigator of this initiative.

Together with Gloria Harbin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Glenn Gabbard of the Federation of Children with Special Needs, and several nationally recognized consultants, Bruder will establish "The Research and Training Center in Service Coordination" at the Health Center.

The project has six goals:

  • To study and describe current models of service coordination across the nation;

  • To identify outcomes of effective service coordination;

  • To describe recommended practices in effective service coordination;

  • To measure effective and accessible service coordination through the use of new methodology and existing tools;

  • To develop and validate training models for effective service coordination;

  • To disseminate information about findings and recommendations.

Maureen McGuire