Early Childhood Intervention services resume in East Texas

Published: Nov. 3, 2016 at 6:32 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 at 7:50 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Early Childhood Intervention services are resuming in East Texas after a Longview-based company was granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to continue providing care.

District 6 State Rep. Matt Schaefer announced the news Thursday.

Schaefer's office said the Texas Health and Human Services Commission awarded a new contract and $815,000 to Community Healthcore for ECI services.

Previously, those services were provided by the Andrews Center.

The program serviced Smith, Cherokee, Henderson, Anderson, Wood, Van Zandt, and Rains counties. The Andrews Center contract with the state ended Sept. 30. The center said it was not renewing their contract with the state because they say they're losing money on the program.

The Andrews Center is the third ECI contractor in Texas that chose not to renew its contract with the state this year. The center in El Paso made the decision in July, and another in North Texas, which serves 10 counties, is set to end in October 2017.

Community Healthcore will provide services for the same seven-county area, Schaefer's office said. Though Community Healthcore is based out of Longview, new offices will be placed in Tyler.

Fammilies that enrolled previously will not need to re-enroll and Community Healthcore will families to re-establish services.

"First, I want to say how sorry I am to the children and families who stopped receiving much-needed services. We must do better as a state. The break in services for children with special needs happened because the bureaucracy in Austin was not quick to respond when cost assumptions didn't pan out in the real world," Schaefer said.

"Predicting how much money it will take to pay for services for children with special needs is not easy, and we must always be good stewards of the taxpayers' money. But now we must learn from this experience and get it right the next time," he continued.

Schaefer said his office has been communicating with those who allocate ECI funds to East Texas.

"We made sure the people in Austin fully understood the impact that loss of service would have on some of our most vulnerable children in East Texas. I am pleased to say that these services are resuming in our area," Schaefer said.

Families affected by ECI services can contact Schaefer's office at 512-463-0584 with any questions or concerns.

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