What Policies Govern Early Intervention and Inclusion in Pennsylvania?

Early Intervention and Inclusion

The Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities is also known as Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or simply Part C (IDEA, 2004). It is a federal grant program that helps states operate early intervention (EI) services for children from birth to age 3 and their families.

Each state and territory has its own system for providing services under Part C, including an agency that oversees the EI system for children from birth to 3 years of age. The system includes such things as evaluation and assessment, eligibility for Part C services, and the development of Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs). Part C says that EI services and supports must be provided in natural environments, including both home and community settings where children would be participating if they did not have a disability. (via Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education state in their 2015 Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs:

“It is the Departments’ position that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations. This joint ED and HHS policy statement aims to advance this position by:

  • Setting an expectation for high-quality inclusion in early childhood programs;
  • Increasing public understanding of the science that supports meaningful inclusion of children with disabilities, from the earliest ages, in early childhood programs;
  • Highlighting the legal foundations supporting inclusion in high-quality early childhood programs;
  • Providing recommendations to States, LEAs, schools, and early childhood programs for increasing inclusive early learning opportunities for all children; and
  • Identifying free resources for States, programs, early childhood personnel, and families to support high-quality individualized programming and inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs.”

More Information

To see a full list of laws, regulations, and announcements on early intervention in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website. The Pennsylvania D.O.E. also provides a guide on problem solving in early intervention in both English and Spanish.

Picture: Two young children and their teacher standing, painting at an easel in a classroom. OCDEL Community Survey

Series Navigation

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series highlights several early childhood topics to support parents and caregivers who are caring for young children. Use the list below to navigate through each series topic:

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