For children under age three, federal law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA) provides early intervention services. In California, these are called Early Start services.Title 20 U.S. Code beginning at section 1431. California selected the regional centers to be the primary coordinators and providers of these services.Cal. Gov. Code beginning at section 95000. Instead of an IPP, services for children under three are provided under an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Children who receive early intervention services can also get Lanterman Act services if they have a developmental disability. But, most services children for children under three are through an IFSP. For more information on developmental disabilities that qualify for regional center services, see Chapter 2.
When they turn three, children eligible for special education can also get special education services from their local school district. At age two and a half, the regional center must plan for the child’s transition to the school district.Cal. Education Code section 56426.(a) and (b) and Title 17 Cal. Code Regs. section 52112. If your child has a developmental disability and is eligible for regional center services at age three, the regional center may continue services until the next school term begins if they turn three when school is not in session.Title 17 Cal. Code of Regs. section 52112(f).
If you have a child under three, please read Special Education Rights and Responsibilities (SERR) Chapter 12 for information on early intervention services. For information on how children over age three qualify for special education, see Chapter 3 of SERR.