frequently asked questions

EI provides various supports and services to children up to three years old who have disabilities or delays in one or more areas of development. For example, a delay may be in thinking, learning, moving or seeing. Early intervention in NC is called the Infant-Toddler Program (ITP). It is a federally-funded statewide program.
  • Assistive technology services and devices
  • Audiology services
  • Early identification and screening
  • Evaluations and assessments
  • Family training, counseling, and home visits
  • Health services
  • Medical services (diagnosis and evaluation)
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • Respite services
  • Service coordination
  • Social work services
  • Special instruction
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Transportation and related costs
  • Vision services
Evaluation and service coordination are at no cost to the family. Other services are based on a sliding fee scale. This scale determines a family’s ability to pay. A family deemed unable to pay for needed services will not be denied. Medicaid is billed for services as well as other insurance, with the family’s permission.
Referrals to the ITP can be made by phone, email, fax, letter, or in person at your local Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA). The person or agency must give the following information:
  • the child’s name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • telephone number
  • parent's name
  • the reason for the concern.
Parental consent is not required to make a referral. Referral sources are encouraged to talk with the parents before referring a child to the ITP.
After a referral is made, the Early Intervention Service Coordinator (EISC) begins assisting the family. The EISC is the family’s main contact in the ITP. The EISC will help families understand their rights under the ITP. The EISC will also contact parents to get consent to evaluate their child and to arrange for evaluations. The child will then receive an evaluation to determine if she/he is eligible for the ITP. The evaluations may be done in the child’s home, childcare center or other environments that are natural to the child.
Evaluations help determine if a child qualifies for services. They are specialized for each child and family. They may involve a review of the child’s medical records and previous evaluations. Evaluations may also include a review of the child’s development, observations of the child and interviews with the parents.
Only the Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) determines a child’s eligibility for the ITP. CDSAs use various methods and procedures to make this determination. Examples include standardized measures of child health and development; interviews and discussions with families; and observations of the child in home or play settings.
The Infant-Toddler Program (ITP) will work to link families with appropriate local resources to address their needs.
Parents should first talk with their Early Intervention Service Coordinator and Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) staff. Parents have the right to have concerns resolved in a timely manner. Parents may file a formal complaint by:
  • notifying the CDSA Director of the concern.
  • completing a complaint form.
  • contacting the Family Partnership Coordinator through the Central Office at 919-707-5520.
The IFSP is a family’s written plan for the Infant-Toddler Program (ITP). It stands for Individualized Family Service Plan. The IFSP describes how a family and the ITP team will address the child’s needs identified by the evaluation and assessment. It is also based on the concerns, resources, and priorities identified by the family. The IFSP meeting is held within 45 days of the child’s referral to the ITP, if the child is eligible and the family has decided to enroll in the program. This could be longer if a parent delays or postpones the evaluation or the meeting to discuss the plan. A review of the IFSP must occur every six months following the date of the signing of the initial plan.
A child may remain in the ITP until one of the following occurs:
  • the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) goals are met.
  • the child is determined ineligible based upon evaluations.
  • the child reaches age three.
The Early Intervention Service Coordinator will work with parents on a transition plan from the ITP.