Navigating the Early Identification and Intervention Maze: A Flowchart
California’s early identification and intervention (EII) system is complicated. Many players are responsible for supporting young children’s development and mental health. This flowchart describes the system as it is intended to work for children 0 to 3 years old with Medi-Cal insurance. It highlights general eligibility criteria and covered services, as well as areas of ambiguity and local variation. Entities included are Early Start, Medi-Cal, Specialty Mental Health Services, California Children’s Services, and community-based supports. Click on any aspect of the flowchart to reveal additional information.
A few notes about the purpose and use of this flowchart:
- The purpose is to raise awareness about the EII system for a broad audience; it is not meant to be a referral guide for providers or families. Actual clinical practice and family experience will include additional steps and nuance.
- For simplicity, this flowchart leads to only one system at a time. In reality, many children have co-occurring developmental and mental health needs. Providers often make referrals to multiple entities at once and children may receive services from different systems at the same time.
- The primary focus is developmental delays and mental health concerns indicated by developmental or social-emotional screenings. Because this flowchart describes the system for children under 3 years old, mental health concerns primarily refer to social-emotional needs. Many other screenings and services (including oral, vision, hearing and others) are not included in this flowchart. The flowchart does not describe the experience of children who may have developmental or mental health concerns but who are not deemed eligible for services from these systems, those who cannot access community-based supports, or those who never receive a screen for these concerns.