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Metrocare has been caring for people for 50 years.

1.9 million Texans live with a serious and persistent mental illness

6.4 million Texans have a mental illness and would benefit from treatment

Last year, nearly 50,000 adults received services from Metrocare

Last year, 15,000 children received care from Metrocare

70% to 80% of parents with a child with autism will get divorced

40% of children with autism do not talk at all

Autism impacts more children than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, Down syndrome, and cystic fibrosis combined

Early diagnosis and intervention of an individual with autism can reduce the lifetime support costs by 66%

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

Early Childhood Intervention is a state and federally funded program through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. ECI supports families to help their children reach their potential through development services.

ECI provides a home- and community-based program of supports and services for eligible families and children ages birth through three years old. Core services include an array of direct treatment to the child, family support services, and linking services. Children under the age of 36 months with a developmental delay, a physical or mental condition that will most probably result in a delay, and those children whose development is "atypical" are eligible for service.
Services are provided in the child's natural environment (where the child lives, grows, and plays) and include, but are not necessarily limited to:

Family Support and Training Services – help families provide encouragement, stimulation, and assistance to the child to aid in development.

Linking Services – help families access needed support and services when child turns three years of age.

Direct Services – screening and assessment, development therapies (i.e., occupational, physical and speech therapy), special instruction, and other services.

Families who can afford to share the cost of ECI services will be asked to do so. Fees are determined on a sliding scale based on the family size and income. Most families are provided ECI services at little or no cost. If parents are concerned about cost, the best solution is to have their child evaluated by Metrocare's ECI professionals (at no cost), discuss the child's needs, receive an estimate of the family's share of the cost, and discuss possible funding options including private health insurance. 

Early Childhood Intervention of Metrocare Services is funded through federal, state, and local funds, Medicaid, insurance, and a family cost share system, which assists families with children from birth to three with disabilities or delays in development. ECI of Metrocare Services provides a home- and community-based program of support and developmental services for eligible families and children in the Southwest quadrant of Dallas County. All eligible children receive services – there are no waiting lists.

Mission Statement

ECI assures that families with young children with developmental delays have the resources and support they need to reach their goals.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Birth to 36 months
  • Texas resident
  • Medically diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay (i.e., Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida) or
  • Delay in one or more area of development per ECI State Policy (cognitive, motor, communication, social-emotional, self-help skills) or
  • Atypical development (sensory-motor responses or behavior patterns are different from other children their age)

Core Services

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services are provided in the child’s natural environment (where the child lives, grows, and plays) and include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Case management 
  • Family education
  • Developmental services
  • Occupational, physical, and speech therapy
  • Nutrition, auditory, and vision services
  • Psychological and social work services

Success Story

When Emma was still in her mother’s tummy, her parents found out she had Down Syndrome. Not quite sure what would happen once she came, her parents turned to their doctor to find out what services were out there in the community to help. Luckily for Emma, her doctor recommended Early Childhood Intervention of Metrocare Services. He told Emma’s parents that ECI would be there to help them find their way. Sure enough, after Emma was born, the ECI team came out to Emma’s home to provide a full developmental evaluation. With that in hand, the ECI team, along with Emma’s parents, developed a plan of strategies to help Emma reach her maximum potential. The weekly visits by the Occupational Therapist and Service Coordinator showed Emma’s parents how they could work with her to help her to pick her head up while on her tummy, drink from a bottle without spilling a drop, and begin crawling. Over two years have passed since Emma entered the ECI program, and she’s now starting to walk on her own, feeding herself, and has even started using sign language to let her Mommy and Daddy know what she needs…even if it’s just a hug!

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