for the Early Intervention Program
(Part C: Infant Services)
The Early Intervention Program is a federally funded family-centered program
for infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with developmental
delays or as severe disabling conditions that include hearing impairments,
vision impairments, and severe orthopedic impairments, or any combination
thereof. The intent of the program is to develop and implement a comprehensive,
coordinated, interagency system of early intervention services. In Contra
Costa County, the program is operated under an agreement between the Regional
Center of the East Bay and the Contra Costa SELPA.
Service Coordination and Interagency Agreements
Under Part C, participating LEAs would be responsible for providing and/or
coordinating the provision of early intervention to infants and toddlers
and their families. The LEAs are mandated to serve all children who have
a low incidence condition as their sole handicapping condition. LEAs may
also serve children with other developmental delays (not low incidence)
up to the level of their funded capacity, provided those children meet
special education eligibility. Children with other developmental delays
would be referred to the Regional Center of the East Bay for service,
once the LEA has reached its funded capacity.
Service Coordination is an early intervention service and must be provided
under public supervision. The role of the Service Coordinator is to facilitate
implementation of the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) and to coordinate
services with other agencies and persons. The Service Coordinator must
be knowledgeable about eligible infant and toddler programs, Part C law
and regulations and the nature and scope of services under Part C of I.D.E.A.
Referrals to the Early Start Program may be made by parents, health providers
or the Regional Center. Upon receiving notice of a new referral, the service
coordinator will contact the parent to begin the intake process. With
parent permission, the referral information is shared between the Regional
Center and the SELPA Early Start systems to allow collaboration and avoid
duplication of services.
An infant or toddler shall be eligible for intervention services from
birth to 36 months of age if he/she meets one of the following criteria
as determined by means of evaluation:
(1) has a developmental delay in either cognitive, communication, social
or emotional, adaptive, or physical and motor development including vision
and hearing and is under 24 months of age at the time of referral, with
a 33% delay in one or more areas of development or,
(2) 24 months of age or older at the time of referral, with a 50% delay
in one area of development or a 33% delay in two or more areas of development;
(3) has an established risk condition of known etiology, with a high probability
of resulting in delayed development (California Government Code, Section
Under California Education Code 56425, LEAs are responsible for providing
Early Start Part C services to infants and toddlers with Solely Low Incidence
(SLI) Disabilities, defined as severe disabling conditions that include
hearing impairments, vision impairments, and severe orthopedic impairments,
or any combination thereof.
Evaluation and Assessment
The determination of eligibility shall be made by a multidisciplinary
team of appropriately qualified personnel from the Regional Center or
LEA with participation of the parent.
Evaluation and initial assessments of each infant or toddler shall be
completed within 45 days of the Regional Center's or LEA's receipt of
The evaluation consists of two phases: The determination of eligibility
and the assessment for service planning. Qualified personnel conduct these
evaluations based on age appropriate procedures, review of diagnostic
medical information, observations, standardized test if appropriate, and
informed clinical judgments. Infants with solely low incidence disabilities
will be evaluated by specifically qualified personnel in the area of suspected
disability. The infant will be assessed for service planning in five areas:
1. cognitive development
2. physical development and health
4. social/emotional development
5. adaptive development.
These assessments will be directed toward determining the infant or toddler's
unique strengths and needs, and the services or strategies appropriate
to meet those needs. The assessments will be conducted in the language
of the family's choice, and in natural environments whenever possible.
Qualified staff will also assess the family's resources, priorities and
concerns related to enhancing the development of the infant or toddler.
Individualized Family Service Plan Meeting
A meeting to develop an initial IFSP will be convened for each eligible
infant and will include the parent, service coordinator and assessment
staff. Other family members are welcome to attend. A translator will be
provided if necessary.
At this meeting, the IFSP document is completed. The IFSP consists of:
1. A statement of the family's resources, priorities and concerns related
to enhancing the development of the infant;
2. A statement of the infant's or toddler's present levels of development
in each of the areas assessed, based on measured evidence;
3. A statement of the major outcomes expected for the infant along with
the criteria, procedures and timelines used;
4. A statement of the expected outcomes for the family when services for
the family are related to meeting the special developmental needs of the
5. A statement of the specific early intervention services necessary to
meet the unique needs of the infant and family.
This information is recorded on forms developed by the Regional Center
of the East Bay and approved by all of the SELPAs in Contra Costa and
Alameda Counties. Parents must sign their consent for the IFSP on these
forms before services can be provided.
Provision of Service
Early intervention services required under Part C for low incidence eligible
children may include special instruction, assistive technology (including
devices or services), audiology, family training, counseling and home
visits, health services necessary for a child to benefit from other early
intervention services, medical services for diagnosis and evaluation only,
nursing services, nutrition services, occupational and physical therapy,
psychological services, respite services, service coordination (case management),
social work services, speech-language services, transportation and vision
services. The service coordinator or provider may also assist the family
in locating non-required services such as employment, child care, housing,
immunizations, marital counseling or substance abuse programs. For dually
eligible children served by the LEA and the Regional Center, the LEA is
responsible only for provision of assessments, special education and related
services, and service coordination.
Early Start services are provided on a schedule that is convenient for
the family and addresses family priorities. If services cannot be provided
in the natural environment of the infant or toddler, the IFSP document
must include an explanation of why they must be provided elsewhere.
Infants and toddlers are eligible for services provided by the LEA when;
1. they have a solely low incidence disability and do not have another
delay or disability that would make them eligible for Regional Center
Procedures for Review
A periodic review of the IFSP shall be conducted every six months, or
more frequently if conditions warrant. The purpose of the review is to
determine the degree to which progress is being made and whether modification
of the IFSP is necessary. The periodic review may be conducted in a meeting
or another means that is acceptable to the parents, such as a phone call.
Documentation that the review has been conducted will be entered in the
An annual meeting to review the IFSP will be conducted, using the same
provisions for notice and consent as in the initial IFSP, to measure outcomes
and determine what services are necessary.
Transition to Preschool
All children receiving Early Start services are potentially eligible for
LEA special education and related services at age three. The Early Start
service coordinator shall notify the LEA where the toddler resides that
there will be a Transition IFSP and conference, requiring the attendance
of an LEA representative to establish a transition plan in the IFSP not
fewer than 90 days before the toddler's third birthday in accordance with
34 CFR 303.209 and 303.344.
The purpose of transition is to begin planning for service options as
the individual with exceptional needs approaches age 3 (no later than
36 months of age). The child who is served by either an LEA or Regional
Center shall have the benefit of transition planning from Part C infant
services program to educational services operated by an LEA under Part
B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
To ensure the transition of a toddler to preschool services, under Part
B or other services that may be available, the Regional Center and/or
the LEA shall participate in a joint transition planning meeting to be
held not less than ninety (90) days or no more than six months before
the child reaches age three. For any child referred to the Infant Program
after age two years, six months, the initial IFSP may also be the Transition
IFSP and shall include appropriate LEA staff. For any child referred to
the Infant Program after age two years, ten months or more, the LEA responsible
for Part B services will accept direct referral for educational evaluation,
assessment, and recommendations for Part B, IDEA. The following transition
steps must be addressed at the Transition IFSP:
1. Discussions with parents regarding the transition to special education
for a toddler with a disability who may be eligible for Part B services.
2. Steps to prepare the toddler for change in service delivery, including
steps to help the toddler adjust to, and function in, a new setting.
3. Discussion about appropriate date for notification/referral to district
at least 90 days prior to the third birthday.
4. Identification of the assessment process and timelines A plan for a
joint meeting of the IEP and IFSP teams prior to the toddler's third birthday
to review the outcomes of early intervention services and to determine
the eligibility and program plan for a child who may be eligible for special
education and related services.
5. Procedures which ensure that there is no lag in service transition
to the LEA.
In order to protect the infant or toddler's rights under Part C, the parent
has a right to prior notice before any action, including assessment, is
In addition, IDEA Part C guarantees that parents have the right to the
- A plan: Parents have the right to participate collaboratively in the
process of developing an Individualized Family Service Plan. The plan
outlines the specific services and supports that the child and family
- Services provided in a timely manner: Parents have the right to an
evaluation and assessment of their infant or toddler's functioning and
has a right to a meeting to develop the IFSP within forty-five (45)
days after they are referred. The plan must be reviewed every six months.
- Grant permission: Parents have the right to approve or disapprove
before their child is evaluated or receives any services. Parents have
the right to decline services at any point.
- Confidentiality: No information which is personally identifiable about
a family may be released by an agency serving them without the written
approval of the family, except as mandated by state law.
- Assistance and Support: Parents may include other participants, such
as family members or other individuals familiar with the needs of the
child in the development and implementation of early intervention services
at the IFSP meeting.
- Evaluation and Assessment: Parents have the right to participate,
as members of the multidisciplinary team, in the process of evaluation
and assessment. Appropriately qualified personnel from the regional
center or local education agency determine eligibility for services
with input from parents.
- Service Coordination: Parents have the right to a service coordinator
who assists them in understanding how the system works and obtaining
appropriate early intervention services. The service coordinator will
work with the family to assure implementation of the IFSP and to access
needed services in a timely, efficient manner.
- Information: Parents have the right to understandable information
about the early intervention system and the services provided, information
on and copies of all test results and records concerning their child.
This information must be provided in the primary language or mode of
communication whenever possible.
- Disagree: Parents have the right to disagree with decisions made regarding
evaluation for eligibility, assessment results, or services. If parents
disagree or are not satisfied with services, they may engage in a process
of informal problem solving and/or formal administrative proceedings.
Contra Costa SELPA Dispute Resolution Coordinator
The Contra Costa SELPA Dispute Resolution Coordinator is available to
districts and parents for consultation around a variety of issues relating
to assessment, identification, placement and services to individuals with
exceptional needs. The Coordinator can also provide technical support
and assistance to districts in working more effectively with students
and families. If parents are not successful in reaching a satisfactory
agreement at the site level and have already contacted the director of
special education in their district or the SELPA program specialist, they
may call (925) 827-0949 x 24 to speak to the Coordinator of Dispute Resolution
for Contra Costa SELPA. The Coordinator will use the information provided
to determine which ADR activity or resource would best address the situation.
Locally the CARE Parent Network provides assistance and information to
parents of infants and toddlers with special needs. Parents with questions
or need for support should be referred to their Martinez office. Their
phone number is (925) 313-0999. Their services are free of charge and
they have Spanish-speaking staff.
The California Department of Developmental Services offers a formal complaint
procedure to parents that allege that an implementing agency has violated
federal or state law governing the provision of appropriate early intervention
services. The service coordinator will provide information and assistance
to any individual or organization that has filed a written complaint.
Within 60 days following the submission of a complaint, the Department
of Developmental Services will carry out an investigation, review all
relevant information, provide a written decision to all parties, and inform
the complainant that they may appeal the final decision to the U.S. Secretary
Mediation and Due Process Procedures
A parent may request a mediation conference and/or a due process hearing
if (A) the LEA proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification,
evaluation, assessment, placement or provision of appropriate early intervention
services, or (B) the LEA refuses to remove or amend a document in a record
which the parent believes is inaccurate or misleading or violates the
privacy or rights of the infant or toddler. The Regional Center or the
LEA may request a due process hearing when the parent refuses to consent
to an evaluation and assessment of the infant or toddler. A request for
either a mediation or a due process hearing must be made in writing and
filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings. The service coordinator
may help the parent with the written request if necessary. Mediation or
a Due process hearing will take place within thirty (30) days and will
be held at a time and place convenient to the parents. During this period,
the services currently being provided to the infant or toddler not in
dispute will be continued.
A mediation conference is recommended to resolve disagreements between
the parent and the LEA prior to going to Due Process Hearing. This conference
will be conducted by an impartial, knowledgeable person under contract
with the Department of Developmental Services. The matter being mediated
will proceed to a due process hearing if either party waives mediation
or if mediation fails in whole or in part.
If the matter proceeds to a Due Process Hearing, the Hearing Officer
will examine the information, reach a resolution that is in compliance
with federal and state law, and mail a written decision to each party
within 30 days of receipt of the due process hearing request.
At the due process hearing, the parent has the right to knowledgeable
counsel, to present evidence, to call witnesses and to cross-examine witnesses.
Evidence must be disclosed to and by the parent five days before the proceeding.
Following the hearing a written or electronic transcript of the proceedings
will be available and a written decision must be sent to the parent.
California Government Code, Section 95014(a))
34 CFR §§ 303.209-303.344
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Early Intervention Program"