Early Intervention

The APCB´s Early Intervention social response it is a part of the National System for Early Intervention (Sistema Nacional de Intervenção Precoce na Infância - SNIPI), so that the APCB has specialist technicians integrating with the following Local Early Intervention Teams (ELIs):
  • ELI Amares
  • ELI Braga Saudável
  • ELI Colina Assucena
Early Intervention is defined as “the grouping of integrated support measures, concentrating on the child and its family, including actions of a preventative nature and towards rehabilitation, specifically with regard to education, health and Social Services” (Law Decree nº 281/2009). This social response covers children aged from zero to six years old and their families.

Law Decree nº 281/2009 involves a tripartite response provided by Local Early Intervention Teams, including specialists from the Ministry of Health (doctors, nurses), the Ministry of Education (early childhood teachers) and the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security (psychologists, social workers and therapists). The APCB participates in Early Intervention directed through the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security with the deployment of specialists in the two Local Early Intervention Teams of the District Council of Braga and in one Local Early Intervention Team in the District Councils of Amares, Terras do Bouro, Vieira do Minho, Vila Verde and Póvoa de Lanhoso.

The intervention model expected from the Local Early Intervention Teams has as an objective intervening in accord with all requirements in the context of each eligible child’s family situation so as to prevent or reduce the risk of developmental delay, and so as to support families by accessing for them services and supports with full community involvement, as outlined in the proposals for social service support (Article of Law-Decree nº 281, 6th October 2009). This interposition is to be achieved using the Local Early Intervention Teams, which undertake the identifying of eligible children and families through the National System for Infant Child Treatment, also undertaking to watch over children and families not readily eligible but requiring periodic evaluation, due to the nature of their risk factors and developmental probabilities, so as to identify, though various services and community bodies, requirements and resources for children and families (Article 7 of Law-Decree nº 281/October 6th 2009).

Elegibility Criterion
In compliance with Law-Decree nº 281/October 6th 2009, children from 0 to 6 years old and their families are eligible for assistance through National System for Early Intervention (Sistema Nacional de Intervenção Precoce na Infância - SNIPI) if they have problems that fit into Group 1 infants and conditions that fit Group 2 or if their individual cases include four or more biological/environmental risk factors:

Responsabilities of Local Early Intervention Teams
Local Early Intervention Teams represent the local level of the National System for Early Intervention (Sistema Nacional de Intervenção Precoce na Infância - SNIPI) in accord with the terms of Article 7 of Law-decree nº 281/October 6th 2009. They undertake activities at the municipal level that can cover multiple constituencies or be dispersed into individual Districts. They are based in Health Centers and offices belonging to the Regional Education Coordination Commission or other social organizations involved. They are led by one of the component parts designated by the Regional Coordination Sub-commission. There fall under its scope of responsibility the following:
  • Finding and highlighting all children between 0 and 6 years old at risk of conditions and physical changes which limit personal and social development and their participation in activities standard for their developmental age, such as children seriously at risk of developmental delay
  • Identifying and treating children (and families) who are in need of Pediatric Care with regard to factors identified for the prevention or reduction of major risk for developmental delay 
  • Providing family support with access to Social Service, Health Service or Educational professional assistance
  • Watching over and periodically evaluating children (and families) that, although not exact matches with the relevant criteria, need periodic evaluation
  • Tracking children (and families) that will not be assisted by the Local Early Intervention Teams but who will still require social support
  • Identifying the needs of relevant children (and families) with the use of existing community bodies and resources
  • Speaking with teachers in day nurseries and preschools where children needing Local Early Intervention Teams support are placed
  • Providing adequate transition and bridging services for other Programs, services and educational facilities
  • Involving and making the family co-partners throughout all of the above
  • Involving the wider community through the provision of the required Social Support mechanisms.   
Local Early Intervention Teams technicians undertake interventions alongside clients and their families/caregivers in the places where the children naturally develops (the home, day nurseries, preschool, nanny or others) in close collaboration with care professionals or the family.

To each child is allocated an individual case manager from amongst the Local Early Intervention Teams technicians. The case manager partners with the family regarding the identification of resources, concerns and priorities, encouraging informed and aware decision making, guaranteeing the giving of assistance throughout their lifetimes. The case manager, although the closest element, can have other ELI team members in direct contact with the client’s family/caregivers in accordance with the outlined development plan’s goals.

For each of the children and family/caregivers adopted by Local Early Intervention Teams (that is, those who meet the criterion for requiring ELI care) an Individual Infant Pediatric Care Plan (Plano Individual de Intervenção Precoce – PIIP) will be drawn up with the participation of the family and the specialists selected by the Local Early Intervention Team who always undertake the child’s evaluation in the familiar home environment as well as the required measures and actions for development (including the setting of targets, the resources available and that will be required, the sources of help, the strategies for implementation and the evaluations to be undertaken throughout the client’s lifespan). For some children at very low risk there may only ever be periodic evaluations.

Directing children to Early Intervention assistance
Directing children to Early Intervention assistance at the level of the National System for Early Intervention (Sistema Nacional de Intervenção Precoce na Infância - SNIPI) can be undertaken by anyone, especially those persons in the role of principal caregiver for the child, principally:
  • Family or an individual person 
  • Health professionals (doctors, nurses etc.) 
  • Community Services: Social Security, hospitals, school groupings, Local Authorities, various Social Assistance institutions, etc.
To undertake this direction a specific blank reference form provided by the National System for Early Intervention (Sistema Nacional de Intervenção Precoce na Infância - SNIPI), available here.
Alternatively, one can undertake referral through any person connected with Local Early Intervention Teams staffers or sending a Referral Form by standard mail, electronically or by fax.

Contact details
ELI Amares
Email: amareseli@gmail.com
Tel: 927810770
Address: Centro de Saúde de Amares | Rua 25 de Abril | 4720-393 Ferreiro, Amares

ELI Braga Saudável
Email: elibragasaudavel@gmail.com 
Tel: 253 600 580
Address: Rua Martins Sarmento, s/n | 4710-406 S. Victor, Braga

ELI Colina Assucena
Email: elicolinassucena@gmail.com
Tel: 253 600 580
Address: Rua Martins Sarmento, s/n | 4710-406 S. Victor, Braga

Text: information provided by the Local Early Intervention Teams (ELI Amares, ELI Colina Assucena e ELI Braga Saudável)
Images: http://www.dgs.pt/upload/membro.id/imagens/i010476.png