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Does Your Child Need Early Intervention (EI)?

Skills, like taking a first step, smiling for the first time and waving “bye-bye” are called milestones. To find out if your child’s development is on track or if you should refer your child to the Early Intervention Program, review the developmental milestones for your child’s age. 

If an evaluation is needed we will identify your child’s strengths and needs, and address concerns about your child’s development. Evaluations are done at no cost to you.

Who Can Be Referred to the Dutchess County Early Intervention Program (EIP)?

Infants and toddlers from birth through 2-years and 6-months of age who:

  • Live in Dutchess County and are suspected of having a developmental delay or disability.
  • Have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that is likely to result in a developmental delay.

Children must be found eligible in order to receive services.

It is highly recommended that children who are 2-years and 6-months of age, or older be referred to the Committee for Preschool Special Education (CPSE), under the Department of Education for preschool special education.

Please contact the CPSE office for the school district in which you reside. If you are not sure what school district you live in, our Address Info-Finder can provide you with school district information and more.

Who Can Refer to the EIP?

Infants and toddlers up to 2-years and 6-months old can be referred by anyone with parental consent (family, doctors, social service workers, child care workers, community agencies) by calling 845-486-3518.

For more information about EI services elsewhere in New York State, call the Growing Up Healthy 24-hour hotline at 800-522-5006.

What Happens When a Child is Referred to the EIP?

When a child is referred to the EIP, an Initial Service Coordinator is assigned to the case and assists the family through the process.

If the evaluation shows your child is eligible:

  • An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting will be held to develop goals and a plan that meets your child’s developmental needs.
  • Service providers (teachers and therapists) will work with your child and family during daily routines.
  • The Ongoing Service Coordinator will work with your family to ensure the plan is working.

Early Intervention Parent Guide - English

Early Intervention Parent Guide - Spanish

Will My Child be “Labeled” or “Classified”?

Participation in Early Intervention does not “label” a child.

If your child continues to need services after Early Intervention, the NYS Education Department requires that the classification of “preschooler with a disability” be given to all children entering the Preschool Special Education Program. This classification satisfies regulatory requirements and allows payment for services.

Your child’s record may only be transferred to the kindergarten program in the school district in which your child is enrolled, with your consent.

What Services are Available?

The Early Intervention Program offers many types of services that are aimed at meeting your child’s developmental needs, and to help parents meet these needs.

The following services are included in the Individualized Family Service Plan:

  •  Assistive technology services and devices
  •  Audiology
  •  Family training, counseling, home visits and parent support groups
  •  Health services needed for your child to benefit from other early intervention services
  •  Medical services only for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
  •  Nursing services
  •  Nutrition services
  •  Occupational therapy
  •  Physical therapy
  •  Psychological services
  •  Social work services
  •  Special instruction
  •  Speech-language pathology
  •  Vision services

How Are Early Intervention Services Provided?

Only qualified professionals licensed, certified, or registered in their discipline, and approved by New York State may deliver early intervention services.  All early intervention services can be given using any of the following service models:

Home and community-based visits 

Services are given to a child and/or parent or other family member or caregiver at home or in the community (such as a relative’s home, child care center, family day care home, play group, library story hour or other places parents go with their children).

Facility or center-based visits

Services are given to a child and/or parent or other family member or caregiver where the service provider works (such as an office, hospital, clinic or early intervention center).

Parent-child groups

Parents and children get services together in a group led by a service provider. A parent-child group can happen anywhere in the community.

Family support groups

Parents, grandparents, siblings or other relatives of the child get together in a group led by a service provider for help and support and to share concerns and information.

Group developmental intervention

Children receive services in a group setting led by a service provider or providers without parents or caregivers. A group means two or more children who are eligible for early intervention services. The group can include children without disabilities and can happen anywhere in the community.

Do I Need to Worry About Costs?

No.  If your child is eligible for the Early Intervention Program, services must be provided at no cost to you.

Families are required to provide information about health insurance, including private insurance and Medicaid, as it is used to pay for early intervention services.

New York State law protects family insurance policies from being affected by payments for early intervention services.  Your insurance policy can only be used if your insurance company is licensed or regulated by New York State.

How is Eligibility Decided?

 All referred children have the right to a free evaluation to find out if they are eligible for services.

The evaluation will also help you to better understand your child’s strengths and needs and how early intervention can help.

Even if your child has a diagnosed condition, they will still need a multidisciplinary evaluation to help plan for services.

If your child has a delay in development – and no diagnosed condition – the evaluation is needed to find out if your child is eligible for the Early Intervention Program.

Your child’s development will be measured according to the "definition of developmental delay” set by New York State.


What if a Child is Not Eligible for the EIP?

Dutchess County Child Find Program can offer continued monitoring to address concerns regarding your child's development. 

Not all children with delays are eligible for Early Intervention. There are community resources and agencies that may be able to provide you with appropriate support and assistance.


What Are My Rights and Responsibilities As a Parent?

The Dutchess County Early Intervention Program (EIP) recognizes that your family is an essential part of the Early Intervention team. The program will do its best to meet the needs of your family and your child. 

If you have concerns or do not agree with a decision:

Discuss your concern with your Ongoing Service Coordinator who will explain your options and rights in further detail.

You can call your Early Intervention Official Designee (EIOD) for additional assistance in the resolution process.

If you believe your Early Intervention Official Designee, service provider, or service coordinator is not doing their job under the law – (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)) you can contact the Coordinator of Services for Children with Special Needs at (845) 486-2759.

You have the right to:
Due Process - If you still have a concern or disagreement, you can appeal the decision by requesting:

Your Service Coordinator can help request mediation as a way for you to discuss your concerns and reach agreement with a mediator and the Early Intervention Program.

Impartial Hearing
This is a more formal method carried out by hearing officers who are administrative law judges (ALJs) assigned by the New York State Department of Health. The ALJs make the final decision about the complaint.

Systems Complaints
This requests the NYS Department of Health to investigate how the Early Intervention Program is working. If you believe your Early Intervention Official, service provider or service coordinator is not doing his/her job under the law - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - you can contact the Coordinator of Services for Children with Special Needs at (845) 486-2759.