About the Early Intervention (EI) Program

What is the Early Intervention Program (EIP)?

EIP is a public program funded by New York State and county governments.

The New York State EIP is part of the national Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

Who is eligible for the EIP?

To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the New York State guidelines, in one or more of the following areas of development: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive.

How do I refer my child to the EIP?

All children must be referred to their respective municipality to access EIP services. To get started, call 311.

In the alternative, you can call your county EI Office. A list of local contacts where a parent can refer his or her child can be found on the NYS Department of Health website at “Municipal Contact for the Early Intervention Program“.

How is eligibility determined?

Eligibility for the EIP can be determined only by State-approved evaluators under contract with the municipality.

Every county in NYS has an Early Intervention Official (EIO) who serves as the “single point of entry” for the EIP. All children referred to the EIO are evaluated by two or more professionals to determine if a child meets the eligibility requirements. This is called a “multidisciplinary evaluation.”

See NYSDOH’s booklet The Early Intervention Program: A Parent’s Guide for more information.

What can I expect during the evaluation process?

A service coordinator is assigned to each family after a referral is made. The service coordinator will explain the program, help you choose an evaluation agency and assist you throughout the entire process. Most evaluations are completed within a few weeks to determine if your child is eligible for services and will include a multidisciplinary evaluation by two or more professionals (an overall developmental assessment and at least one additional evaluation in the developmental area of concern).

What kinds of EI services are available?

Babies and toddlers who qualify for EI may receive help with development in these areas:

Physical skills (reaching, crawling, walking, drawing, building)

Cognitive skills (thinking, learning, solving problems)

Communication skills (talking, listening, understanding others)

Self-help or adaptive skills (eating, dressing, washing)

Social or emotional skills (playing, interacting with others)

Where do early intervention services take place?

EI services take place in a child’s natural environment- usually at home, daycare or other community settings.

What is an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)?

The IFSP is a written plan for services that is developed for your child and family. It includes all the details about the services that your child and family will receive. It will therefore be specifically written for your family. The IFSP centers on the outcomes you hope your child will reach.

If a child is found eligible for the EIP, all needed early intervention services are identified in collaboration with the parent and must be authorized by the municipality.

How much does it cost?

The municipality will arrange for service providers, considering the individual needs of the child and family, to deliver services authorized by the municipality.

All services provided under the EIP are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to parents, but health insurance may be accessed for reimbursement for early intervention services provided to eligible children and their families.

If early intervention services are delivered in child care settings or community locations that require a fee, the parent is responsible for paying any associated costs with such access to child care or community locations.