Early Support for Infants and Toddlers, Services during COVID-19

Diana Castillo
Coordinator, Healthy Connections

During COVID-19, the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) Program continues to accept referrals and provide services virtually, through video conferencing and/or phone calls. Research shows that virtual services are as successful as in-person services (example study is here).

The benefits to families receiving ESIT services during this time include:

  • Supporting the child’s development during early brain growth,
  • Learning helpful ideas to use while playing or during daily activities,
  • Stability during a time of uncertainty by having regular services, and
  • Making social connections and links to additional supports.

Please don’t wait and see, ESIT services are available now for children birth to age three, and this is a critical period of brain development.

  • Information about effectiveness of virtual services can be found here
  • There are a number of diagnoses that automatically qualify a child for ESIT services. If you are working with a child with one of these diagnoses, please indicate the diagnosis on the referral. This will simplify and speed up the intake process.

Additional for NICU staff and families:

  • Many children who have experienced a NICU stay will automatically qualify for ESIT through the program’s qualifying diagnosis list. This helps speed up the intake process. Babies who are born prematurely, up to 37 weeks gestation, will automatically qualify.
  • Services will be 100% virtual during this time, so you will not need to worry about exposing your baby to illness.
  • ESIT service providers have experience supporting families who have had a baby in the NICU. They can provide coaching for a variety of concerns, including feeding needs, and they can provide emotional support and make connections to other resources.
  • Parents can self-refer

To connect to the ESIT program in your area contact the Local Lead Agency in your county.