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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Florida's Early Steps System

Each child grows at an individual pace, but research shows that a child's first three years are the most important time for learning. Getting help early puts your child on the right path to learn and develop at their full potential.

Early Steps is Florida's early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop.

Early Steps services are based on Early Steps evaluations and your family's concerns, resources, and goals. Early Steps uses a Team Based Primary Service Provider approach which aims to empower each eligible family by providing a comprehensive team of professionals from the beginning of services through transition. The goal is for the family to receive strong support from one person, provide a comprehensive team of professionals from beginning to end, and for the family to have fewer appointments and more time to be a “family.” Services are provided to the family and child where they live, learn and play, to enable the family to implement developmentally appropriate learning opportunities during everyday activities and routines. Most services will be early intervention home visits. Click on the link below for a short video that demonstrates and explains early intervention home visits.

 

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Florida Department of Health of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. The Florida Department of Health bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

For most of these services, there will not be a charge or they will be covered by insurance or Medicaid if applicable. These services are provided by contracted local Early Steps offices across the state of Florida.

Features of Early Steps

  • Brings services into the child's life rather than fitting the child into services.
  • Maximizes each child's everyday natural learning opportunities.
  • Enhances each child's development and participation in community life.
  • Provides each child with a consistent team for evaluation and services.
  • Gives families options in service decisions and encourages active partnerships.
  • Provides a primary service provider to work with your family, other caregivers, and the team.

For more information about Early Steps, please view our Policies and Public Reporting.

Florida's Central Directory provides information and referral services to families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. Resource specialists provide answers and/or possible choices of services within your community, education on disability related services and provides advocacy roles for families. For more information or to make a referral to Early Steps, please call 1 (800) 654-4440.