Questions about early intervention

What if I have questions about a child's development?

The Birth to Six Growth and Developmental Chart gives parents, child care providers, case workers, preschool staff, and anyone working with infants and toddlers, a quick, organized way of helping to recognize possible problem areas in a child's vision, hearing, and development. The chart will help look at the whole child and will help to recognize areas that deserve a second look by a professional who can do further screening and evaluation.

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What's a family resources coordinator? (FRC)

Family resources coordinators (FRCs) are in each county or geographic area of the state. They can help a family access early intervention services a child may need. They can provide a screening or suggest other resources.

For more information or help, call the "Family Health Hotline " number at 1-800-322-2588, TTY 1-800-833-6384 for the name of the family resources coordinator (FRC) in your local area. You can also click to find the lead family resources coordinator and local lead agencies contact information for your county.

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What are families' rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)Part C?

Families have the right to:

  • Be the primary and final decision maker for their child
  • Access services which include:
    • early identification of concerns/ Child Find
    • a timely multidisciplinary evaluation and assessment
    • determination of their child's eligibility
    • family resources coordinator/coordination

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What are a child's rights?

If a child is eligible, the family has the right to:

  • An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
  • Ongoing family resources coordination with a family resources coordinator, until their child's third birthday
  • Ask for a different family resources coordinator
  • Receive early intervention services related to their child's development
  • Agree to the services but disagree with how often or where the services will be provided
  • Refuse some services recommended by the IFSP team and still receive other services
  • Participate in all meetings concerning their child's early intervention services and changes in delivery of services
  • Have meetings at a time and place agreeable to their family
  • Receive timely written notice of:
    • any changes with any service involving their child
    • any meeting dates and times
    • who will attend the meeting
  • Receive notices and IFSP documents in their native language or the way of communication used in their home.

In addition to the parent/family rights, children have the right to:

A surrogate parent if -

  • No parent can be identified
  • The service provider/public agency, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the whereabouts of a parent or
  • The child is a ward of the state

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The program requires an eligible child to be within the ages of birth to 3 years. What happens at age three?

At least six months before a child turns three, the family resources coordinator will assist the family in planning for transition out of early intervention services. Some children may be evaluated to determine if they are eligible for special education services. IDEA requires a written plan for this transition. A transition plan meeting must take place at least 90 days before a child turns three. The transition plan will identify steps and services needed to facilitate transition to special education or community-based programs.

Before transition planning occurs, the family resources coordinator will get the family’s consent. The family resources coordinator will schedule a meeting with the family, service providers and local school district staff to develop the transition plan.

The school district determines if the child is eligible for preschool special education services. They will discuss the results of their tests and provide information about a parent's rights. If a child is eligible, their services will be provided through an Individual Education Program (IEP).

The family resources coordinator will assist families in accessing other community services if the child is not eligible for special education preschool services.

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How can the family prepare for the transition meeting with their family resources coordinator?
  • Gather as much information as possible about the proposed change
  • Ask about possible program options or choices
  • Ask what training and supports the new program offers families
  • Visit the new program before the change
  • Ask for written materials and learn the procedures for entering and participating in the new program
  • Provide as much information about the child as possible to the new program

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How is family privacy protected?

Families have the right to:

  • Request, review, and correct records and receive copies of the records.
  • Be informed about the types and the locations of records collected, maintained, or used in the program, who in the program has access to those records and when they see those records.
  • Request information about who has seen the records or copies of the records. A parent may review all records that relate to their child including:
    • screening
    • evaluation
    • assessment
    • eligibility
    • all information that is a part of the IFSP
  • Challenge information in a record they believe is inaccurate or misleading or violates the privacy or rights of their child or family
  • Receive and review records regarding any individual complaint concerning their child. Information about a family is confidential
  • Confidentiality of Personal and Identifiable Information including:
    • the name of the child, themselves, or other family members
    • the address of the child
    • any personal characteristics or other information that would make it possible to identify a child with reasonable certainty
  • Request local policies and procedures regarding how confidentiality is protected
  • Give informed written consent for any screening, evaluation and assessment, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), early intervention services and sharing of information or records

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What if a family disagrees with a decision about a child's services?

When parents and providers of early intervention services disagree about any matter relating to the identification, evaluation or provision of services related to the development of an infant or toddler, birth to three, either party may request a mediation.

Talk with a family resources coordinator about the problem. If that doesn't work the following options are available:

  • Mediation - Mediation will be provided to a family or provider at no cost to help resolve a dispute. Mediation is offered as an alternative to a formal administrative hearing. Mediation is a voluntary process. Mediators have knowledge of laws and regulations relating to the provision of Part C, early intervention services, experience and training in effective communication and resolution disputes.
  • Advocacy services - These are programs that will give a family information and help plan how to address the problem. One advocacy organization is Washington PAVE (Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment). The family resources coordinator can provide a family with information about advocacy services in the area.
  • Administrative hearing (proceeding) - This is a formal hearing or proceeding conducted by an administrative hearings officer.

A request for an administrative hearing must be in writing and include the complaint. Address the request to the director of the early intervention services provider or their local early intervention services contractor. The family resources coordinator can give you their names and addresses or you can call 360.725.3500 and ask for help.

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What if a parent or community member thinks an agency or early intervention services provider is not doing what the law requires?

Any person or organization may file a citizen's complaint if they think an agency or early intervention services provider is violating a requirement of the law. The complaint must be written, signed and include the facts about the complaint. Send the complaint to:

Early Support for Infants and Toddlers
Department of Early Learning
P.O. Box 40970
Olympia, WA 98504 -0970

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How can families and interested community members be more involved?

Families have an important role in the planning and developing of programs and services for children. They can take part in planning how their community provides services.

This planning is done at the county level through County Interagency Coordinating Councils (CICCs). Each CICC is required to have parents and local agencies and providers as members on the council. Together with all other members, parents help decide how services can best happen. CICC meetings are open to the public.

There is also a State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC). This council must also have parent representation. SICC meetings are open to the public. For more information about meeting times and locations, contact ESIT at (360) 725-3500.

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