What is First Steps?

    First Steps is a statewide early intervention system which provides services to children from birth to age three with developmental disabilities and their families. First Steps is Kentucky's response to the federal initiative called the Infant-Toddler Program (ITP) established by Public Law 99-457 Part C. First Steps offers comprehensive services through coordination with a variety of community agencies and service disciplines. First Steps is administered by the Department for Public Health within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

    Why Provide Services?

    First Steps provides services for the following reasons: Typically, there is significant improvement in development and learning in those children who participate in early intervention. A child with a delay or a condition that is likely to cause delay should not go through the critical developmental years without help. Services and support benefit families by reducing stress. Early intervention services often decrease the need for later costly special education programs by remediating problems early in the child's life.

     Who does First Steps serve?

    First Steps serves children from birth to age three and their families. Children are determined eligible for services in two ways: by developmental delay. Evaluation shows that the child is not developing typically in one of five skill areas: cognition, communication, physical, social and emotional, or self-help. automatic entry by diagnosis of a physical or mental condition which has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay, such as Down Syndrome.

    Where does First Steps provide Services?

    First Steps provides services in all Kentucky counties. Services may be provided in home, in center-based programs, or in clinical settings depending upon the needs of the child and family and the availability of services in a given area. What Services does First Steps provide? First Steps provides services to children which help to diminish the effects of developmental delays. Services include: Evaluation/Assessment; Service Coordination; Transportation; Respite Care; certain non-routine Health Services; Nutrition Services; Physical and Occupational Therapy; Speech/Communication Services; Vision/Hearing Services; Developmental Intervention; and Assistive Technology. Early Intervention services are provided through multiple agencies and may involve multiple disciplines. Services are based on the child's needs and will be identified on their Individual Family Service Plan.

    Who do I call to find out more about First Steps services?

    Anyone can refer a child for services by calling 1-800-442-0087 Referral will then be made to a team at the district Point of Entry office who will initially assist a child and family in accessing needed services. Services are available to any child and family who meets developmental eligibility criteria, regardless of income. A family's participation in First Steps services is always optional.