Project Niños

Project Niños ECI Program

What does the program do?
ECI is a statewide program for families with children, birth to three, with disabilities and developmental delays. ECI supports families to help their children reach their potential through developmental services. ECI provides each family with the tools they need to incorporate instruction and therapy in their child’s day-to-day activities. The activities promote growth and development in a natural environment and throughout daily routines. ECI is a parent support program helping families help their children reach their full potential through developmental services including: screening & assessment; physical, occupational & speech language therapy; Specialized Skills Services; Case Management & other supportive services. If you have concerns about how your baby or toddler is growing and learning, talk to your child’s doctor, and contact ECI at the numbers listed below. Please review Texas ECI: “Family to Family” video for more information.

For further information, please review the DARS ECI website.

Who benefits from the program?
All children from birth to 36 months will benefit from this program, if a child is found eligible during the evaluation process and if there is a need for intervention services.

What areas/counties are covered by this program?
Aransas, Jim Wells, Brooks, Duval, Kennedy, Kleberg, Jim Hogg, Nueces, San Patricio, Webb, and Zapata counties.

When does a person qualify for the program?
Eligibility is determined by a team of at least two professionals from different disciplines. ECI determines eligibility for children less than 36 months based on:

Medically diagnosed condition
A child who has a medically diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay qualifies for ECI. The diagnosis must be on the DARS ECI list of qualifying medical diagnosis, and medical records must be provided to confirm the diagnosis.
■ Review list of medical diagnoses as provided by ECI through Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).

Auditory or Visual Impairment
A child who has an auditory or visual impairment as defined by Texas Education Agency qualifies for ECI. This determination is made by a team led by certified staff from the local independent school district.

Developmental Delay
A child who has a developmental delay of at least 25% which affects functioning in one or more areas of development, including cognition, communication, gross or fine motor, social-emotional and adaptive/self-help qualifies for ECI.

How does an individual enroll in the program?
If you have reason to believe a child is developmentally delayed, you may call ECI to make a referral. Once a referral is received, we have 45 days to enroll a child into the program, but in most cases, enrollment occurs sooner. We will call you to schedule and conduct a comprehensive evaluation. If your child is eligible for ECI, we will schedule and conduct the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Once the IFSP is completed, your child is now enrolled with the program and services may begin.

Additional information about the program:
All ECI services are done in the child’s natural environment, which includes the home, day care, relatives’ home, preschool, etc.
Some of ECI services are at no cost to the families. The services are :
• Evaluation/assessment
• Development of the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)
• Case Management
• Translation and interpreter services, if needed
• All Early Childhood Intervention services to children with auditory and visual impairments eligible for a free and appropriate public education from birth based on the Texas Education Code,
• Administration and coordination activities related to the implementation of procedural safeguards and other components of the statewide system of early childhood intervention services.
Families, who are over 100% income guidelines, will be assigned a family monthly maximum payment. This is determined by family size and annual adjusted income by using the DARS ECI sliding fee scale.
http://www.dars.state.tx.us/ecis/familycostshare.shtml
If after the evaluation, your child is not eligible for ECI, we will inform you in writing, and will explain the results to you.
Project Niños has a main office in Alice, TX and two satellite offices in Sinton and Laredo, TX.

Contact information:

Esperanza S. Garcia, Program Director 65 N. Wright St., Alice, TX 78332 Telephone: (361) 661-1192 Fax: (361) 664-8955

Anna Perez, Area Director (Laredo) 5709 Springfield Ave., Laredo, TX 78041 Telephone: (956) 728-1769 Fax: (956) 722-1723

Maria Ramos, Team Lead Supervisor (Alice) 65 N. Wright St., Alice, TX 78332 Telephone: (361) 661-1192 Fax: (361) 664-8955

Maria Ramos, Team Lead Supervisor (Sinton) 301 S. San Patricio, Ste. D, Sinton, TX 78387 Telephone: (361) 364-9131 Fax: (361) 364-9248

Main number to call (used by families):

Alice: (361)661-1192 ext. 100, 888-858-7963 (Toll Free)

Laredo: (956) 728-1769, 877-504-1769 (Toll Free)

Sinton: (361)364-9131, 877-805-9159 (Toll Free)

Hours of operation: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.