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

Public Participation Process for
Florida’s FFY 2016-2017 Renewal Application for Funds
Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Early Steps State Office (ESSO), lead agency for implementation of IDEA, Part C in Florida, is publishing the proposed annual renewal application for funds under IDEA, Part C, in accordance with 441 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) at 20 USC 1232d(b)(7)(B) and IDEA, Part C at 34 CFR 303.208. The proposed annual renewal application is available for public review from January 20, 2016 through March 19, 2016. The opportunity to comment on the proposed annual renewal application is from February 2, 2016 through March 3, 2016.

When providing public comment, please identify the specific section of the proposed annual renewal application that applies to your comments. Responses to individual questions will not be provided; however, the ESSO will review and consider all feedback and make modifications deemed necessary.

Comments may be submitted one of the following ways:

1. Email to CMS.EarlyStepsPublicComment@flhealth.gov or

2. Via postal mail to Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services, Early Steps State Office, ATTN: Kelly Rogers, 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #A06, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1707

Any person requesting a hard copy of the application may contact Kelly Rogers at (850) 245-4200 or send an email request to:

Your comments will assist the ESSO in ensuring a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers and their families.

The proposed annual application can be found at:
2016-2017 Early Steps Proposed Application.

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 Early Steps 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 (800) 218-0001.