One of the services Hope Service’s Homestart Program provides to families is that of early intervention – developmental services that support families of children who are at risk for or are demonstrating developmental delays or who have special needs to foster and promote their child’s development and growth. This service is typically funded by a county’s Early Start Program and coordinated by local Regional Centers. But, early intervention only serves children and families until a child turns three years of age, so what happens after that?
At age three, should a child continue to demonstrate significant developmental needs, responsibility for services is typically assumed by the public education system through local school districts. As a child approaches their third birthday, service coordinators at the Regional Center assist the family in connecting to their local school district so that the district can coordinate with families in completing their own independent assessments to determine if a child qualifies for special education services.
Some children may also qualify for ongoing peripheral support with the Regional Center after three years of age. And those who do not qualify for public services, but whose families remain concerned about specific skills, may choose to explore therapies through their medical systems and insurance providers.
At Homestart, we pride ourselves on taking a family-centered and relationship-based approach to our work, and we collaborate with families in forming trusting and respectful relationships with the goal of supporting the child’s development.
When children turn three and these services end, it can be an intimidating and anxious time for families as they prepare to say goodbye to their early intervention provider, to meet new providers, and to learn to navigate new systems.
Our providers assist families with this transition by connecting them to resources in the community to help them understand their rights and the special education system, by helping them to anticipate and understand the process of transitioning to the school district, and by providing tips and guidance around how to best support their child developmentally as they begin new services. At Homestart, our goal is to provide compassionate parent education, guidance, and support so that families feel empowered, informed, and excited to explore this new chapter in their lives!