CDS staff completes routines-based interview training

The Child Development Services team is pleased to announce that, as of June 30th, the Part C staff at all 9 regional CDS sites has completed the Routines-Based Interview (RBI) training and will soon begin putting into practice what they have learned. Within a few months, all CDS Part C staff will have conducted several practice RBI’s with families and have their skills at conducting RBI’s assessed by a state-certified RBI trainer to ensure fidelity and functionality.

By January 2015, all families entering CDS Part C services in the state of Maine will participate in the RBI process as part of initial evaluation, IFSP development and annual IFSP review.

The Routines-Based Interview is a clinical, semi-structured interview developed by Dr. Robin McWilliam of the Siskin Children’s Institute in Chattanoog­a, TN. The RBI is conducted with parents/caregivers of young children with special needs and is an integral part of the evaluation process and the process for developing Individualized Family Service Plans. Its focus is on the child’s engagement, independence and social relationships throughout his or her daily routines. It also focuses on the family’s satisfaction with those daily routines, identifying those times of day that are going well, and those times of day in which the family and child could use additional support.

There are multiple benefits to the integration of the RBI into the evaluation and IFSP development process. First, the RBI provides a richer, more complex understanding of a child’s daily functioning in his or her natural environment. This depth of knowledge provides a much clearer picture of a child’s strengths and needs than test scores alone. Second, Part C services take place almost exclusively in the family’s home. A relationship between the provider and the family based on trust and openness is necessary for the child and family to make optimal progress. The RBI helps to lay the groundwork for such a relationship.

Third, through an in-depth RBI, the family is able to identify the areas in which they would like to receive support rather than being informed what their needs are by a group of professionals. In this way, services are able to move from discipline-specific, provider-oriented services to more functional, family-based services as identified by the family.

Finally, the areas of need identified by the family translate directly to the outcomes as listed on the IFSP. This helps to focus the early intervention team’s efforts on what is truly important to the family and to significantly increase a family’s “buy-in” to services and the carryover of intervention strategies in their daily lives.

The implementation of the RBI and its integration into CDS’ Part C process will lead to a deeper understanding of the children and families with which we work, better relationships with families, the development of functional and relevant outcomes, and services that truly enhance child and family functioning.

For more information on RBI training or general inquiries related to Child Development Services please contact the Director, Cindy Brown at cindy.brown@maine.gov or 207-624-6633.