According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, around one in every six children has a developmental delay of some sort—including ADHD, autism, hearing loss, or other conditions. For these children with a delay, early intervention is key and can make a huge difference in how the child progresses.
In South Carolina, children ages three and under may be eligible for BabyNet services in order to address these issues early, and link children with the resources they need the most.
What is BabyNet?
BabyNet is a system of interagency services in South Carolina that are targeted toward children aged three and under who are experiencing developmental delays, or conditions associated with future developmental delays. BabyNet is managed through the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
How do you get access to BabyNet services?
While eligibility to BabyNet services does require a diagnosis of a developmental delay, anyone—parent, doctor, or teacher—can make a referral of a child into the BabyNet program. At that point, an assessment will be completed to determine if the child does have significant developmental delays in speech, mobility, social skills, size, or critical thinking skills. Should the child show either a 40% (or higher) delay in one area or 25% in two or more areas, they will likely be approved for BabyNet services.
If by some chance the child is not approved at this point, there is an Informed Clinical Opinion process that parents may instead choose, where a clinician can make a decision based on current medical records.
What services does BabyNet provide?
BabyNet provides two main services for children with developmental delays and their families: 1) evaluating the child for services (at no cost to the family), and 2) connecting a BabyNet approved child with the necessary resources to help them grow and thrive.
Once approved for BabyNet services, the family will choose an Early Intervention agency and the Early Interventionist will connect the family with valuable resources. Services are highly personalized to the needs of the individual child. The Early Interventionist will provide Service Coordination and Family Training/Special Instruction and will assist in finding any or all therapies listed below:
Early Interventionists follow an Individualized Family Service Plan to provide service coordination. This ensures they are able to assist families in accessing early intervention services, including evaluations, therapies or transitional services with one common goal in sight.
Family Training/Special Instruction
Family Training includes the design of learning environments and activities that promote the child’s acquisition of skills in a variety of developmental areas including cognitive processes and social interaction; providing families with information, skills and support related to enhancing the skill development of the child; and curriculum planning, including the planned interaction of personnel, materials, and time and space, that lead to achieving the goals in the child’s IFSP/FSP.The focus of Early Intervention is Family Training. Once trained, the parent should be able to perform the skills taught by the Early Interventionist.
Speech, Occupational, and/or Physical Therapy
As they are needed, a variety of therapies are available for BabyNet eligible children, based on their evaluation for services.
Nutrition, Psychological, Autism or Social Services
In order to promote the child’s health, as well as social interaction and mental wellness, services are available for families who may require additional insight into health and nutrition needs for their child.
Vision Services and Assistive Technology
Where applicable, a child may qualify for assistive technology or other services in order to help them progress with their developmental plan.
How much does BabyNet cost?
It is important to realize that BabyNet services do not cost anything to the family; they are either billed through Medicaid or to the family’s private insurance. In some cases, the services may even be covered by federal or state funds to ensure there is no out-of-pocket cost to the family.
If you think your child qualifies for BabyNet services, you can make a referral at any time through the BabyNet website. However, if you have questions about BabyNet, or other early intervention programs and services, we at Above & Beyond are always happy to help; just contact us to set up a time to talk.