A Family-Centered Approach to Early Intervention
Early intervention capitalizes on infants’ and toddlers’ rapid brain development and increases the likelihood that a child’s educational achievement, ability to live independently, and quality of life will be higher.
Tens of thousands of children are served each year by California Early Start, a statewide system that provides intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The system was created nearly two decades ago to comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Early Start services are reaching more children and families than ever. In 2009, the Early Start system supported 2.3 percent—or about 38,000—of the state’s infants and toddlers, up from 32,000 in 2005.
Funded by state and federal monies, Early Start provides families with free intervention services through a statewide network of family resource centers, regional centers, and local education agencies.
To support early intervention professionals in effectively delivering these services, WestEd’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention developed and coordinated Early Start’s distinctive system of personnel development, which emphasizes comprehensive, relationship-based care for very young children with disabilities.
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