Press Release: Early Intervention Sets Record in Tennessee

Tuesday, August 03, 2021 | 01:25pm


CONTACT: Lauren LeGate
OFFICE: 615-393-1878

The program soars despite the COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE—More children than ever are receiving early intervention services through the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) after the program saw a steep increase in both the number of referrals and children served in the past year.

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) announced that the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) had a record-breaking year despite the challenges created by the COVID pandemic.  In Fiscal Year 2020-2021, 20,751 children were referred to the program, an increase of 1,768 children from the previous year. 

“In the middle of a pandemic, parents and medical professionals were reaching out to our program.  Regardless of the circumstances, they know that early intervention changes lives,” said DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner. “More than anything, I am proud of our staff and our community early intervention partners.  As more and more children were referred to our program throughout the year, they continued to provide the best services possible to every family.”

Out of the more than 20,000 children that were referred, 55% of those children were eligible for early intervention services.  In FY 2020-2021, 16,159 children were served through early intervention.  That is 1,523 more children than the previous year.

“This is only the beginning.  We are committed to finding every family in Tennessee that has a child that can benefit from early intervention services,” said Commissioner Turner. “Our team has worked hard to serve these families, and we all know there is more work to be done.”

TEIS serves children from birth until their third birthday with developmental delays and disabilities. TEIS services are provided at no charge to families. Children enrolled in TEIS are provided different therapies that will help them reach their developmental goals.

In March 2020, TEIS quickly transitioned to providing services through virtual technology to ensure the safety of TEIS families and staff.  TEIS staff and contracted providers were able to deliver service coordination along with different types of therapy through these methods and maintained high engagement with families. 

In July 2020, TEIS transferred from the Department of Education to DIDD.


About DIDD

DIDD is the state agency responsible for administering services and support to Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every day, the department strives to support thousands of people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives through Medicaid waiver Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), state-operated ICF/IIDs, and the Family Support Program.  DIDD also provides services to children ages birth to three years old with developmental delays or disabilities through the Tennessee Early Intervention System, and children under the age of 18 with disabilities or complex medical needs through the Katie Beckett Program.