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Family and Social Services Administration

First Steps Home > Program Policies and Updates > Policies > Matrix Guidelines Matrix Guidelines

Bureau of Child Development Services (BCDS) - First Steps

The purpose of the provider matrix is to provide information to families allowing an informed selection of providers based on the needs of the family and child. The matrix page should be viewed similar to a resume and include experience, training/certifications and education that can be verified. Experience must be professional experience that is comparable to the current position of the provider. Upon request the provider must be able to submit verification for experience listed on the matrix. (Service Coordinators may only document pediatric experience as the number of years as a First Steps Service Coordinator. Other experience may be listed in the comment section of the matrix.)

Misrepresentation of information on the matrix may be viewed as grounds for disenrollment from the First Steps program.

The provider matrix is to be limited to experience, training and qualities important in selecting a provider. Comments must be professional and non-discriminatory. Comments relating to marketing or that do not relate to the individual qualities and training of the provider are not to be included on the matrix.

In order to maintain integrity of the provider matrix the Division is requiring that providers adhere to the following procedures.

Matrix Maintenance and Up-date Procedures

  • The provider/provider agency must up-date the individual provider matrix pages by the 21st of each month. At a minimum, availability must be kept current. Comments and or experience may be changed as deemed necessary.
  • Availability should reflect the total number of available slots that the provider anticipates in the county/ZIP codes listed.
  • The provider should list the counties &/or ZIP codes in which the provider is available to provide service in.  Counties &/or ZIP codes may be added or removed as availability in the county changes.
  • Providers who list themselves as available need to make every reasonable effort to provide service when selected. Only in those instances when the provider’s availability changed with limited time to up-date the matrix, will it be acceptable to not accept a referral.
  • Providers may not discriminate based on race, social or economic status in listing ZIP codes available to provide service.
  • Only experience in the field in which the provider is currently providing service is to be listed as experience. Experience should be calculated on a full time basis. Experience that was not full time should be pro-rated. Experience that is relevant, but not in the field of service may be listed in the comment section.
  • Only certifications, which may be verified from a recognized board or organization, are to be listed.
  • The provider/provider agency assumes responsibly to ensure that the individual matrix pages are accurate and up-to-date.

Presentation of the matrix

  • Families are to be made aware of the on-line provider matrix.
  • Intake and Service Coordinators are to have hard copies of the matrix for families to review.
  • Intake and Service Coordinators should review with families the type of information provided in the matrix and how to determine if a provider is available.
  • The family should be provided with information on providers who are available, as well as those who currently do not have openings.
  • The Intake/Service Coordinator should discuss with the families those qualities important to the family. Consideration should be given to specific hours or locations that service should occur, experience with a specific condition or piece of equipment, and other qualities that would be meaningful to the provision of service.
  • Other providers working with the family may also discuss with the family, qualities to look for in a provider.
  • Families are not to be provided with anecdotal, hearsay information, or personal opinion on the selection of a provider.
  • Provider selections &/or changes, other than Service Coordinator changes, must go through the acting Intake/Service Coordinator. Service Coordinator changes must be facilitated through the Intake Coordinator.

Providers who do not maintain their matrix page according to these procedures or whose page contains inaccurate information may have corrective action taken. Corrective action may include suspension of service and termination of the CRO provider agreement.

Persons, who are aware of or concerned about the integrity of a provider matrix page, should notify the Local First Steps Council or LPCC Coordinator. If the issue or concern cannot be resolved locally, notification to the Bureau of Child Development consultant serving that area is suggested.