April 7, 2012 at 10:59 PM CDT - Updated June 26 at 9:53 PM
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The number of young children helped through an intervention program has dropped 17% because of more rigid eligibility requirements launched last summer.
Officials who oversee state-funded Early Childhood Intervention told the Austin American-Statesman they have gone from serving 30,000 children a month to 25,000.
Many of the kids have problems such as autism, cerebral palsy or complications from premature birth.
Parents, many of whom are low income, have been forced to seek services for their children with private providers, such as speech or physical therapists. But some of those specialists don't take Medicaid, and families are struggling.
Early Childhood Intervention is a state and federally funded program administered through local nonprofits and other organizations and serves children up to age 3.