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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Module One: Lesson One

What is the Intent and Purpose of IDEA, Part C?

The Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities (Part C of IDEA) is a federal grant program that assists states in operating a comprehensive statewide program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, birth through age two years, and their families. In order for a state to participate in the program, it must assure that early intervention will be available to all eligible children and their families.

The governor in each state must designate a lead agency to receive the grant and administer the program, and appoint an Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC), including parents of young children with disabilities, to advise and assist the lead agency. Currently, all states and eligible territories are participating in the Part C program. Annual census figures of the number of children, birth through age two, in the general state population is the basis for each states' funding.

Congress established the Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities (Part C of IDEA) in 1986, in recognition of "an urgent and substantial need" to:

  • enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities;
  • reduce educational costs by minimizing the need for special education through the provision early intervention;
  • minimize the likelihood of institutionalization, and maximize independent living; and
  • enhance the capacity of families to meet their child's needs.

In order to meet these intended outcomes, IDEA, Part C provides financial assistance to states to accomplish the following:

  • Develop and implement a statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary, interagency program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
  • Facilitate the coordination of payment for early intervention services from federal, state, local, and private sources (including public and private insurance coverage).
  • Enhance the states' capacity to provide quality early intervention services and expand and improve existing early intervention services being provided to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families; and
  • Enhance the capacity of state and local agencies and service providers to identify, evaluate, and meet the needs of historically underrepresented populations, particularly minority, low-income, inner-city, and rural populations.

You may find it helpful to browse the federal law and regulations for IDEA, Part C, The Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program.


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