FAMILY CHARACTERISTICS, STATE PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS, AND REPORT OF INADEQUATE CARE AMONG FAMILIES OF YOUNG CHILDREN WITH HEARING LOSS
Determan, Ada Henry
Hofferth, Sandra L
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Approximately 1.6 per 1,000 newborns in the U.S. are born with hearing loss. Congenital hearing loss poses a risk to their speech, language, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Early detection and intervention can improve outcomes. Every state has an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program (EHDI) to promote and track screening, audiological assessments and linkage to early intervention. However, a large percentage of children are “lost to system (LTS),” meaning that they did not receive recommended care or that it was not reported. This study used data from the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs and data from the 2011 EHDI Hearing Screening and Follow-Up Survey to examine how 1) family characteristics; 2) EHDI program effectiveness, as determined by LTS percentages; and 3) the family conditions of education and poverty are related to parental report of inadequate care. The sample comprised 684 children between the ages of 0 and 5 years with hearing loss. The results indicated that living in states with less effective EHDI programs was associated with an increased likelihood of not receiving early intervention services (EIS) and of reporting poor family-centered communication. Sibling classification was associated with both receipt of EIS and report of unmet need. Single mothers were less likely to report increased difficulties accessing care. Poor and less educated families, assessed separately, who lived in states with less effective EHDI programs, were more likely to report non-receipt of EIS and less likely to report unmet need as compared to similar families living in states with more effective programs. Poor families living in states with less effective programs were more likely to report less coordinated care than were poor families living in states with more effective programs. This study supports the conclusion that both family characteristics and the effectiveness of state programs affect quality of care outcomes. It appears that less effective state programs affect disadvantaged families’ service receipt report more than that of advantaged families. These findings are important because they may provide insights into the development of targeted efforts to improve the system of care for children with hearing loss.