Family Information

 

How First Steps Works

 

 First Steps Early Intervention Program offers a broad range of services for children age birth to 3, and their families. First Steps is administered statewide by Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) through the Bureau of Child Development.

 

 The program brings together a team of professionals to provide the widest array of services for infants and toddlers who have a medical diagnosis, delay in development or risk factor that may cause a delay.

 

Families enter the First Steps program through a referral and an eligibility determination process. First, a referral is made to the local First Steps office and can come from a doctor, hospital, parent, grandparent, daycare or anyone else who has a concern about a child’s development. After a referral is received, a Service Coordinator contacts the family to set up an intake appointment to collect information and needed signatures. Next, a team of therapists meets with the family and child to assess the child’s cognitive, physical, communication, social-emotional and adaptive areas of development. If there is a 25% delay in one area, a 20% delay in two or more areas, or a medical diagnosis resulting in the high probability of a developmental delay, the child may be eligible for early intervention services. These services can include developmental and speech therapies, audiology, physical and occupational therapies, nutrition, transportation, social work, family education, vision, assistive technology, nursing and psychological services.

 

Then, the team (including the family, Service Coordinator, therapists) meets to discuss the child’s needs and decides if First Steps services are appropriate. If the child meets at least one area of the eligibility criteria, the team agrees services are needed, and the family chooses to participate in the program, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is written. First Steps is a family-centered program and an IFSP identifies the family’s goals for the child and outlines how services are delivered. Working with a Service Coordinator, the family selects providers for the services related to the child’s developmental needs. The team reviews the IFSP and services at least every six months to assure services are appropriate. First Steps services are provided in your child’s natural environment — at home, day care or wherever your child needs to be. Service costs are based on a co-pay according to the family’s annual income, and some health insurance plans may cover the cost of services.

 

Service Costs

 

The cost for services is based on the family's income.  Families with an income above 251% of the federal poverty guidelines will have a co-pay for services.  The Service Coordinator will assist families in calculating that rate.