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Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

Current Section  Purpose
 Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Home

Program Office:

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)



Program Type:

Formula Grants

Also Known As:

Grants for Infants and Families, Part C of IDEA, Grants for Infants and Toddlers

Program Description

The Grants for Infants and Families program (Part C) awards formula grants to the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of the Interior, and Outlying Areas to assist them in implementing statewide systems of coordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interagency programs and making early intervention services available to children with disabilities, aged birth through two, and their families. Under the program, states are responsible for ensuring that appropriate early intervention services are made available to all eligible birth-through-two-year-olds with disabilities and their families, including Indian children and families who reside on reservations geographically located in the state. Infants and toddlers with disabilities are defined as children who:

  • are experiencing developmental delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following five areas:

    1. cognitive development,
    2. physical development,
    3. communication development,
    4. social or emotional development, or
    5. adaptive development; or
  • have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives states the discretion to extend eligibility for Part C services to children with disabilities who are eligible for services under section 619 (Preschool Grants) and who previously received services under Part C, until such children enter or are eligible under state law to enter kindergarten or elementary school, as appropriate.

Funds allocated under this program can be used to:

  1. maintain and implement the statewide system described above;

  2. fund direct early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families that are not otherwise provided by other public or private sources;

  3. expand and improve services that are otherwise available;

  4. provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE), in accordance with Part B of the IDEA, to children with disabilities from their third birthday to the beginning of the following school year;

  5. continue to provide early intervention services to children with disabilities from their third birthday until such children enter or are eligible to enter kindergarten or elementary school; and

  6. initiate, expand, or improve collaborative efforts related to identifying, evaluating, referring, and following up on at-risk infants and toddlers in states that do not provide direct services for these children.

The IDEA requires that early intervention services be provided, to the maximum extent appropriate, in natural environments. These services can be provided in another setting only when early intervention cannot be achieved satisfactorily for the infant or toddler in a natural environment. The natural environment includes the home and community settings where children would be participating if they did not have a disability.

Allocations are based on the number of children in the general population aged birth through two years in each state. The Department of Education uses data provided by the United States Census Bureau in making this calculation. This is a forward funded program. Funds become available for obligation on July 1 of the fiscal year in which they are appropriated and remain available through September 30 of the following year.

Last Modified: 08/17/2022