Introducing Denver Early Steps
Thanks to the flexibility of the Mill Levy program, RMHS can cover a gap in services affecting young children in Denver who need Early Intervention services.
When the state of Colorado narrowed eligibility requirements for its Early Intervention program, the move could have left Denver children with developmental delays without services. However, the flexibility of the Mill Levy program, supported by Denver taxpayers, allowed Rocky Mountain Human Services to fill the gap.
Denver Early Steps, the name of the program RMHS created, will look a lot like the state-funded Early Intervention program, and most families won’t notice a difference. Families will have an assigned service coordinator and clinicians who work with them to set goals and reach developmental milestones.
But there are some differences and some advantages. Denver Early Steps has the flexibility to make process changes that will result in positive changes for families including earlier service provider assignment and the ability to implement a true transdisciplinary process.
Haley Carle, program manager for Denver Early Steps, is working with RMHS leadership and the mill levy team to ensure services will start in early 2021. Ms. Carle is a long-standing member of the RMHS Early Intervention team, and she will bring experience and tremendous dedication to the role. She is the perfect choice to get the program started on the right foot.
“I am very excited about the possibilities we have available with this new program,” said Ms. Carle. “We have the ability to ensure that even more children in Denver have access to critical services early in life.”
RMHS has been keeping a list of children who no longer qualify for early intervention services and who will soon have the opportunity to access services through Denver Early Steps. There are currently more than forty children eligible for this new program, and that number is expected to rise.
There has been an overall decrease in referrals for early intervention services, likely due to multiple factors related to the pandemic. The referral numbers are starting to rebound, which is great news for Denver families. There is currently a robust outreach effort to ensure physicians know that early intervention services continue to be available through telehealth. This message, paired with more direct outreach to families, is helping to increase the number of referrals.
Ms. Carle is working with the team to finalize staffing needs, processes, and procedures so she can begin hiring staff and begin providing services. There is a lot of work to do, but it is exciting to see this amazing program come to life and fill a serious gap in services for Denver families.