Imperative to Fund Early On

What is Early On Michigan?
Early On Michigan provides early intervention services to families of infants and toddlers, birth to three, who are eligible because they have a delay in development or a medical condition that is likely to result in a delay.

Why do families need Early On Michigan?
New parents who find themselves caring for infants and toddlers with special needs, from developmental delays to significant disabilities, often need services for their children (such as speech therapy, special instruction, or physical therapy) and support (such as strategies for learning, feeding, and bathing) in order to help their children develop to their fullest potential. Children and their families need support so that they can grow, develop, and be ready for success with friends, in school, and in life. Intervening during these first years supports children to grow to their fullest potential.

Eligible population: Infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with a 20% or greater delay in development or an established condition.

Number served: 2.88% or 19,454 infants and toddlers annually; 9,835 on a given day.1 Estimated number eligible: 7.8 percent or 53,000 infants and toddlers2

Funding: Approximately $12.4 million in federal funding or $637 per child (2016-17 allocation). Some local and intermediate school districts attempt to supplement funding, utilizing state special education dollars for those infants and toddlers who qualify (40% of infants and toddlers in Early On), and local millage dollars where available, inconsistently across the state.

Finding: The Michigan Office of the Auditor General finds that Early On services were not delivered as they should be for eligible children and cites lack of funding as one cause. 3 Outcomes: Early On could do better. Of children who enter Early On below age expectations, 64% substantially increased their rate of growth in social-emotional skills, 68% substantially increased their rate of growth in acquisition and use of knowledge/skills, and 68% increased their rate of growth in use of appropriate behaviors to meet needs before exiting Early On. 4

Infants and toddlers with substantial needs are going without. Early On Michigan needs additional funding in order to adequately serve the families of children already identified as eligible and to serve all children who should be identified as eligible.

1Michigan Student Data System (October 2016).”Period” and “Snapshot” counts;

2 Goldhammer and Mackey-Andrews (2006), Population Variables Selected By Early On® That May Influence The Number Of Children Served In The Michigan Early Childhood System: Estimated Prevalence Report.

3Michigan Office of the Auditor General (November, 2013). Audit Report/Performance Audit of Early On, Michigan Department of Education.

4 Michigan Department of Education. (2016). 2014-15 Part C Annual Performance Report.

Additional resources:;

Advocacy and informational documents are available here.

Posted August 11, 2017


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