Current research in the area of early intervention is focused on the impact of a strengths-based portfolio process in:

Affecting family-focused systems change

  • Enhancing communication between family members and providers,
  • Determining the effectiveness of the portfolio process as a bridge between cultures and languages to support the family’s 
    participation in the development of strengths-based goals,
  • Family perception of the portfolio process as endorsing their 
    family’s strengths and as reaffirming their hopes and dreams 
    for their children.

Most people with disabilities live with their families. Although family care serves about 6 times as many people as are served by formal residential supports, few service dollars are directed toward families. Georgia lacks a compehensive system of family support, ranking 50th in the US for spending for family supports. Lack of family support contributes to the placement of youth in institutions, nursing homes, and other residential facilities. According to Unlock the Waiting List, over 6,400 Georgians with DD are on a waiting list for services.

IHDD research following youth who moved from River's Crossing IICFMR when it closed in 1996 indicated that almost all families that placed their children in facilities did so, not because they wanted to, but because they did not have access to needed supports. Our research further indicates that many of the supports for families in Georgia that were lacking 20+ years ago are still lacking today.

In 2010, Babies Can' t Wait, Georgia's early intervention program served 8,687 children, birth to 3 years old. Early intervention services are designed to be family-focused, but only a small proportion of early intervention goals focus on family outcomes (Stoneman & Rugg, 2010).