The Structure and Operation of the Early Intervention System in Hungary
In Hungary early intervention refers to the provision of disabled and/or premature babies and 0-5/7-year-old children, starting from the recognition and signal of the problem through the diagnosis to the treatment and therapy.
The purpose of this project was to explore the entire early intervention system, therefore nurses, GPs, early intervention service providers, experts of perinatal intensive care centers and expert committees were studied. Involvement of parents was also a focus of the project. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied: we conducted several interviews, held focus group sessions, analyzed policy documents, posted questionnaires and organized online data collection as well.
Since the criteria of necessities can be defined in various ways, there are only estimations about the number of children with special needs. Moreover not all children with special needs receives care and integrated data doesn’t exist either. Consequently, the one of the most important outcome of the project was the estimation of the population concerned. According to our data there are about 10 thousand children in Hungary who need early childhood development services. Based on the available data from two thirds of institutes providing early intervention we estimate that about 30 percent of children with special needs do not receive services.
The project also explored the regional inequality of the supply system. There is a huge discrepancy between Budapest and the countryside: while only 15 percent of the needy children live in the capital, more than 50 percent of the whole population receives care in the capital. Our research on the other hand also detected improvement concerning the inequality of supply and several examples of good practises were found.
In addition to the analysis of systematic problems we proposed ideas to support the improvement of the care system.
Beyond the 400 pages long final paper and the 50 pages long executive summary, databases and 12 background studies were produced.