What is Part C?

black child playing with ball

What is Part C?

Early childhood is a time in a child’s life when they begin to build a strong foundation for their future. While every child develops at their own pace, some may take a little longer to reach certain milestones and need additional support. During this time, it’s important for parents and caregivers to understand the resources available to give these children a strong start. In this blog, we will discuss Early Intervention, IDEA, Part C, and Delaware’s Birth to Three Early Intervention Program.

What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention, or E.I. for short, is a term used to describe national services and support that are available to infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. Some examples of services include speech therapy and physical therapy, but there are plenty of other ways E.I. can help, and they are made possible by IDEA Part C!

What is IDEA?

IDEA, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is a national law that was reauthorized in 2004. IDEA protects the rights of children with disabilities and their parents and is broken down into a few different parts. Children ages 3 to 21 receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B, and infants and toddlers aged birth to 36 months with disabilities or delays receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C.

What does Part C do, exactly? Part C of IDEA is a federal grant program that assists states to:

  1. Develop and implement statewide early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
  2. Facilitate the coordination of payment of early intervention services.
  3. Enhance state capacity to provide quality early intervention services and improve existing services.
  4. Enhance the capacity of state and local agencies and service providers to identify, evaluate, and meet the needs of all children.
  5. Encourage states to expand opportunities for children under three years of age who would be at risk of having a developmental delay if they did not receive intervention services. 

Delaware enforces IDEA Part C through the Birth to Three Early Invention Program.

Birth to Three Early Intervention Program 

Delaware’s Birth to Three Early Intervention Program specifically supports families with infants and toddlers in Delaware who have developmental delays or disabilities. This program helps children aged birth to 36 months reach their full potential through assessments, personalized plans, and expert guidance. 

Birth to Three Regional Programs provide assessments, service coordination, Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), and referrals to community services. They are designed to meet the needs of eligible children for early intervention services and help families transition into programming. 


Once a child is referred to B23 Early Intervention the next step is to determine the eligibility. A child is eligible for early intervention services if he or she has a developmental delay, a birth mandate classification or an established diagnosed physical or mental condition. 

Developmental Delay 

If a caregiver, family member, or physician suspects a developmental delay, they can refer the child for Early Intervention services. A multidisciplinary evaluation will then occur to determine eligibility. The child must present a developmental delay in one or more of the following developmental domains: communication (receptive and/or expressive), cognition, physical/motor (including gross motor, fine motor), social-emotional, and adaptive behavior. 

Birth Mandate 

An infant or toddler who qualifies for a birth mandate classification with one of the following conditions: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Hearing Impairment, and Visual Impairment Including Blindness is eligible to receive early intervention services.   

Established Medical Condition 

A child is eligible if diagnosed by one of the listed medical conditions. This list includes medical diagnoses with high probability to impact the child’s development that may result in developmental delays, for example extreme low birth weight, prematurity (less than 28 weeks), Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy are some of the listed conditions.

Parental Rights Under IDEA Part C

What rights do parents have under IDEA Part C? Families receiving early intervention services through Delaware’s Birth to Three Early Intervention Program have special rights under federal law. Some of these rights include:

  1. The right to have a multidisciplinary evaluation to determine eligibility.
  2. The opportunity to receive assessments and family-directed assessments, if eligible. 
  3. To receive service coordination as part of the early intervention services.
  4. The opportunity to receive early intervention services within 30 days from the date of consent to enroll in the program, if eligible.
  5. The choice to provide or withhold consent for evaluations, assessments, and early intervention services, if eligible.
  6. The ability to participate in all meetings when a decision is expected to be made regarding a family’s early intervention services, if eligible.
  7. To receive early intervention services in natural environments within a family’s routine, if eligible.
  8. The assurance of confidentiality for any identifiable information.

For parents and caregivers in Delaware, exploring the Birth to Three program is an opportunity that could positively impact a child’s early development journey. Participation offers access to essential resources and support, fostering an environment where children can flourish and reach their full potential.

For more information, contact your regional B23 program at: 

New Castle County: 302-283-7240

Kent & Sussex Counties: 302-424-7300

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Welcome to the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ)

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Be sure to select the first option.

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