Michigan Early Intervention Cost Study

Michigan’s EI program, called Early On®, provides services through intermediate school districts to children from birth to age 3 with disabilities and/or developmental delays. As part of the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) renewal grant, the Michigan Department of Education Office of Great Start partnered with AIR to study the costs of high-quality early intervention (EI) services. 

This four-part cost study included:

  • Conducting a policy and literature review to identify best practices in EI;
  • Creating shared definition of high-quality EI services;
  • Determining resources and costs associated with providing high-quality EI across the state; and 
  • Technical assistance sessions on funding sources and preliminary results. 
he image and statement describe the ideal high-quality early intervention system. This goal statement and image were used to guide discussions of what resources would be needed to accomplish the goal statement.

Creating a Shared Definition

To create a shared definition of high-quality EI and determine resources associated with providing high-quality EI, the AIR team engaged with more than 50 expert practitioners and family members involved in EI through a series of regional expert panel meetings.

Study Findings

The study found that the statewide annual average per-child cost of providing a full year of high-quality early intervention is $17,949. This cost represents providing high-quality Early On services to a child for 1 full year, including outreach, referral, eligibility determination, individualized family service plan creation, service coordination and provision, transition, and state supports. 

Recommendations include building a stronger service provider recruitment pipeline, increasing outreach to families, and providing additional statewide services in areas of common need such as language interpretation and data systems.