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Classroom of young students sitting on chairs


If your infant or toddler (under three years old) has a developmental delay or is at risk for a delay, they may be eligible for the Early Start program. First, a team of specialists will assess your child.  If eligible, they will be provided services to address their needs through a plan called an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). An IFSP focuses on the needs of the child in the home and community, with parent education the key. 

To refer your child for Early Start Services, contact the local Regional Center:

Ventura County: (800) 664-3177

North Los Angeles County: (800) 515-BABY


According to the California Early Intervention Services Act, the lead agency for Early Start is the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), which operates the Regional Centers.  Ventura County SELPA collaborates with two Regional Centers to provide Ealry Start services- the Tri-Counties Regional Center(serving residents of Ventura County) and the North Los Angeles County Regional Center (serving residents of Los Angeles County).


The public schools are required by law to provide services to infants and toddlers with only hearing, vision or orthopedic impairments.  They also serve a limited number of children with other disabilities in collaboration with the Regional Center.  In the Ventura County SELPA, the Infant/Toddler program is operated by four local districts, which provide services to all other districts in their area. The districts are:


The majority of children eligible for services under Early Start are served by the Regional Center alone.  Rainbow Connection Family Resource Center is the publicly funded agency to provide information and support to families in the Early Start program.


Your child's Early Start Service Coordinator will work with you and your family to make the transition from Early Start services to public school Special Education preschool services when your child turns three, if you choose.  The process should begin when your child is 2 years 3 months.  If they are eligible, the plan for school-based services (IEP) must be completed no later than your child's third birthday.

This flowchart explains the process for transitioning from Early Start to preschool programs when your child turns three

Informational booklet for families transitioning from Early Start to Preschool.   English     Spanish