Early intervention services can help young children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families overcome challenges and achieve improved well-being and outcomes for their children. Federal child welfare law requires States to develop referral procedures for children under 3 who are involved in a substantiated case of child maltreatment to early intervention services funded under Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). If a child is determined to be eligible, they will receive services that meet the identified needs of the child and family, including—for example—special instruction, family training, occupational or physical therapy, psychological services, and speech language pathology services. Use the following resources to learn more about how the IDEA Part C requirement is being implemented to enhance the capacity of parents and caregivers to meet the needs of their child(ren) living with a disability.
Addressing the Needs of Young Children in Child Welfare: Part C—Early Intervention Services
Child Find is a component of IDEA that requires States to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who need early intervention or special education services. This website focuses on Part C of IDEA, the Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities, and includes examples of demonstration programs.
IDEA Part C Early Intervention Services vs. IDEA Part B Special Education Services—A Resource Document (PDF - 247 KB)
Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (2021)
Indicates key differences between Part C and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities in the Child Welfare System: What Advocates Should Know about IDEA Part C
Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (2013)
ABA Child Law Practice, 32(1)
Reviews provisions in the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) that pertain to early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays, changes to Part C of IDEA that emphasize the urgency of reaching eligible but underserved infants and toddlers in foster care, qualifications for services, types of services, surrogate parents, child evaluation, the Individual Family Service Plan, and transition to preschool services.
Programs Serving Children With Disabilities—IDEA as a Key Component of a State Early Childhood System
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care, Office of Child Care Technical Assistance Network, Child Care Technical Assistance Network (2021)
Describes examples of how IDEA State and education professionals work together to strategize and build a system that will improve results for young children living with a disability and their families.
Services for Children Who Do Not Qualify for IDEA
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Head Start
Provides information on how to support children who may be at risk for developmental delays or disabilities but who do not qualify for services under IDEA.
A Systematic Review of Part C Early Identification Studies
Barger, Rice, Simmons, & Wolf (2018)
Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 38(1)
Presents the findings of a literature review on the process of connecting at-risk children to Part C services. The study concludes with recommendations for developing systems to better track and identify children in need of early intervention services.