The state fiscal year was the unit of time selected to analyze the indicators of service provision. The primary reason for choosing the state fiscal year was that the special education program data only reflected a child's activity during a school year (September to June). The beginning and end of the state fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) brackets the entire school year. From each of the databases that were analyzed, we identified children receiving each service for fiscal years 1990 to 1994. The beginning of fiscal year 1990 (July 1, 1989) offered a time point nearly 2 years prior to the implementation of the Zebley decision while the end of fiscal year 1994 (June 30, 1994) provided three full years of post-Zebley follow-up.
The time frame for this study allowed us to analyze five cross sections (FY 1990-1994) and four new entry cohorts (FY 1991-1994). By new entry, we are referring to children who were not participating in the previous year of disability services. We defined entry cohorts both by entry into any one of the four programs and by entry into a particular program. The cross-sections were analyzed in order to understand the prevalence of multi-service use among disabled children in Iffinois. By comparing indicators across time, we described the prevailing patterns of multi-service use. We also described the characteristics of children who use multiple services over the five fiscal years. Through the analysis of the new entry cohorts, we tracked program participation before and after the Zebley decision. In part, our findings reflect the dramatic change in program participation due to Zeble and the expansion of the role of Medicaid in non-traditional health care settings in Hlinois. Given the changes in SSI eligibility due to Zebley and the concern over the growing caseloads as expressed in the recent welfare reform legislation, the impact of multi-service use on the receipt of SSI was of particular interest. Using the risk population available to us within our data, we examined the incidence of AAED receipt while controlling for demographic characteristics and type of disability.