32 Child L. Prac. 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/chilawpt32 and id is 1 raw text is: 


     Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System:

                 What Advocates Should Know about IDEA Part C
                                by the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education

O f the 423,773 children in foster care as of September 30, 2009,
     36% were under age six and 20% were under age three.1
Infants and toddlers remain in care longer and are more likely to
return to care than older children. More than half of these children
will experience serious medical conditions and developmental

    Research shows that abuse, ne-
glect, and exposure to trauma affect
children's neurological development.
Maltreatment changes children's
brains and affects children's develop-
ment in their behavioral, social, and
emotional domains.
    These infants and toddlers may
be eligible for special help from the
federal Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) program for in-
fants and toddlers with developmental
delays. Child welfare advocates need
to know what help is available for very
young children in their care, how to
get that help, and how to overcome
the barriers that children in care face.
Time is of the essence. The sooner
children with developmental and
learning difficulties get help, the better
their school and life outcomes.

Q      How is the need for early
L      intervention services for
infants and toddlers (birth to age
three) with developmental delays
addressed in the IDEA?
In 1986, the IDEA was amended to

help states provide early intervention
services to children with disabilities
who had not yet reached school-age.
The part of the IDEA that applies to
children from birth to their third birth-
day is now called Part C. The IDEA
was again significantly changed in
2004, including some key amendments
to Part C. On October 28, 2011, final
regulations implementing the Part C
changes went into effect.4
    All states currently accept federal
funding under Part C and thus must
fulfill its mandates. Each state has a
lead agency charged with ensur-
ing compliance with the law. Like the
parts of the IDEA (known as Part B)
for school-aged and preschool-aged
children, Part C is an entitlement
program. That means any child who
is eligible for services has a right to
receive those services. However, Part
C programs can look quite different
across states. This is because the fed-
eral law gives states choices about, for
example, whether the state will charge
for some Part C services;5 whether
children can remain in the Part C sys-
tem (with some conditions) beyond

age three; and whether, once a child
is referred, the state must conduct a
comprehensive evaluation, or (sub-
ject to the parent's right to bypass the
screen), it can first screen children to
determine if they should be evaluated
to assess eligibility for services.

(    A    re any of the recent
        amendments to Part C or
 the new regulations specific to
 children in care?

 Yes! Several important changes to
 Part C emphasize the urgency of
                     (Continued on p. 6)

         What's Inside:
      New Birth Assessment Helps
      Teen Parents in Illinois Foster
      Polyvictimization: Tips for
      Advocates Working with
      Law Program Helps Young
      Offenders Avoid Cycle of
      Violence and Jail
      The Role of Judges in
      Implementing Fostering
      Connections: Sibling Placement

Internet: http://www.childlawpractice.org

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