Early Intervention for Infants & Toddlers 0-36 Months

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Because all babies and toddlers are different, they rarely do the same thing at exactly the same age. As a result, it is not unusual for families to have questions or concerns about their child's development. You may wonder...

Why isn't my baby sitting up?

Why isn't my baby crawling?

Why can't anyone understand what my baby is saying?

Is my child's hearing/vision normal?

It's important to keep in mind that all children develop differently and at their own pace; however if your concerns about your child's development persist, call your health care provider, community health clinic or Public Health Nurse to inquire about an evaluation for your child.

Every state has an early intervention program serving eligible families with children from birth to their third birthday. In California this program is called Early Start.  California also has another program, Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PRRS), for some families whose children are not eligible for Early Start, but do meet the PRRS referral criteria. 

The referral numbers for your area are just below.  You will find more information about both these programs by scrolling down further.including information about how to make a referral to have your child evaluated for eligibilty.


1.  Living in Santa Clara County, California?   Call 1-800-404-5900 to make a referral to both Early Start or the Prevention Resource and Referral Services program. 

2.  Living in a different California county?  Call 1-800-515-2229 to find your county's Early Start Program.  Also ask for the name and phone number of the Early Start Family Resource Center (FRC) serving your county.  PHP is the Early Start Family Resource Center  for Santa Clara County in Northern California.  You may also find your local Early Start FRC at http://www.frcnca.org/frcnca-directory/  The Family Resource Center can provide you with information about your local Early Start program and your community  resources. They are there to provide you with support, too.

3.  Living outside of California?  Visit the NICHCY website and look under your state's resources for Early Intervention.  They will be able to direct you to the early intervention program in your area. You may also want to look in the state resources section for Parent Organizations to find an organization similar to ours.  They can be a great source of support and information.   http://www.nichcy.org/

If you live in a different county or state, it is best to start with the contacts in the yellow highlighted #2 or #3 above.   

Families are welcome to call Parents Helping Parents (PHP) at any time.  You may call when you first have concerns about your child, whether or not your child has a diagnosis.  You may call when you are in the referral/ intake/evaluation process, when your child is starting a program, or whenever you wish.  PHP Staff understand the needs of parents in the confusing and often overwhelming process of evaluation and determination of early intervention eligibility.   Staff are available and are glad to listen, to provide support and information, and to answer your questions.  We can provide you with information about your next steps. PHP has staff who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, and other languages.
(408) 727-5775


  1. Santa Clara County's Family Resource Center
  2. Early Start Services
  3. Prevention, Resource and Referral Services (PRRS)
  4. Referral Numbers
  5. When to Refer
  6. Intake and Evaluation Process
  7. Who is Eligible?
  8. Why Participate in Early Start?
  9. Why Participate in the Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PRRS) program?
  10. Parents Helping Parents is the state-designated Family Resource Center for Santa Clara County families in Early Start.   Since July 1, 2011  PHP has also provided the Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PRRS) program to eligible families in Santa Clara County.  You do not need not be in Early Start or PRRS to contact and receive services from PHP.   . 

    PHP programs and services include:  
    •Baby Gift Program (up to 12 months old)
    •Monthly Integrated Playgroup See video clip
    •Peer Counseling
    •Information and Training about Early Start & the PRRS program
    •Support & Information Groups, Parent Coffees, Sharing the Journey workshops
    •Support parent matching
    •IFSP(Individualized Family Service Plan) and Transitioning from Early Start Trainings for Early Start families
    For Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PRRS) program families* - support, information, referrals, quarterly contact, occasional screenings and referral back to an evaluation for Early Start when screening reveals increasing and concerning developmental delays.
    •Lending Library
    •Parent Education
    •Resources and an Online Resource Directory
    •Referral to Other Early Intervention Agencies
    •Sibling Groups
    •Assistive Technology - High and low tech


    Early Intervention is a system of coordinated services that promotes the child's growth and development and that supports families during the critical early years.  

    Early Start
    Eligible children include infants or toddlers, 0-36 months old, if there is a significant delay in one or more areas of development, if he has an established risk condition or significant developmental disability. The eligibility criteria become higher at age 24 months, so if there are concerns before 24 months, it is a good idea to make the referral call before the second birthday.  (Information about how to make a referral is below.)  Early Start services are individualized and may include periodic monitoring, early interventionist home visits, center-based programs, and speech, occupational, and physical therapy.  The main partners and providers of Early Start Services in Santa Clara County are San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) and Santa Clara County Office of Education. 

    Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PRRS) 
    Some infants/ toddlers 0-35 months of age who are not eligible for Early Start do meet the PRRS referral criteria.  These infants/toddlers 1) have two specific biomedical risk factors that may put them at risk for developmental delays, or 2) have a developmental delay of 33-49% in one or more developmental domains, 3) have a parent with a developmental disability, or 3) are at risk for autism.  Information about how to make referrals is below.  While the PRRS program does not provide specific interventions and therapies to the child, regular follow-up contacts and resource and referral services are provided.  More information about how families in PRRS are served is offered below under “Why Participate in PRRS?”  YOu may call PHP for more information.

    In Santa Clara County the referral, intake and evaluation process is the same for both programs.  Parents, caregivers, healthcare providers and childcare providers may make the referral.

    TO REFER A CHILD TO EARLY START OR THE PRSS PROGRAM in Santa Clara CountyCall 1-800-404-5900    

    PHP serves as the Early Start Family Resource Center for famiies in Santa Clara County.  We are glad to explain the intake and evaluation process, answer your questions, and provide you with support, information, and resources.
    You know your child's abilities, personality and frustrations. Yet, you may not have the information or expertise you need to effectively assist your child's growth and development. By working closely with families, early intervention professionals and family resource center staff can help parents address their concerns, identify needs and resources to address those needs, and set a course of action. If you are concerned about your child's development, the first step is to have your child referred for an assessment. You can refer your child directly to the early intervention program in your county, or you can have your child's physician or another professional make the referral for you.

    It is the same for both Early Start and PRRS.  In Santa Clara County, just leave your name and phone number on the voicemail and they will call you back as soon as possible or, if the concern is just speech and language development, they will immediately send you a packet of forms to fill out and return within 10 days of the postmark date.  Within 45 days of the referral an evaluation/observation appointment  and Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting will be held.

    Who is Eligible for Early Start?
    Infants and toddlers from birth to 36 months may be eligible for and benefit from Early Start services if one of the following factors is present:
    Significant developmental delay in one or more of these areas:

  1. cognitive development, e.g. limited interest in environment, limited interest in play and learning
  2. physical and motor development
  3. communication development, e.g. limited sound repertoire, limited responses to communication to others
  4. emotional-social development, e.g. unusual responses to interactions, impaired attachment, self-injurious behavior
  5. adaptive development, e.g. feeding difficulties
  6. Established risk conditions of known etiology or those conditions expected to result in significant developmental problems such as:
    1.Chromosomal disorders
    2.Neurological disorders
    3.Inborn errors of metabolism
    4.Visual and hearing impairments
  7. Why Participate in Early Start? Research shows that participation in family-centered, early intervention services during the first three years of life can have significant effects on the cognitive development and social adjustment of low birthweight, premature children and on the overall development of young children with disabilities. Early intervention services delivered within the context of the family can:
    •improve both developmental and educational gains;
    •reduce future costs of special education, rehabilitation and health care needs;
    •reduce feelings of isolation, stress and frustration that families may experience; and
    •help children with developmental delays or disabilities grow up to become productive, independent individuals.
    For more information on Early Start visit http://www.dds.ca.gov/EarlyStart/home.cfm
    The booklet Starting Out Together offers more information:  http://www.dds.ca.gov/EarlyStart/RM_Outreach.cfm#7

    Why Participate in the Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PRRS) program?  
    When a child is not eligible for Early Start, but does meet the referral criteria for the PRRS program, they will be offered a referral to their local Early Start Family Resource Center for the PRRS program.  In Santa Clara County Parents Helping Parents provides this program. 
    We look forward to connecting with PRRS families!   
    When the family agrees to the PRRS referral they will be contacted by PHP within two business days.  PHP is here to listen and to offer support, information, and referrals.  Families are welcome to participate in PHP programs and to use our library.  PHP will contact the family every three months to see how things are coming along and to help address any needs.  PHP will offer occasional developmental screenings.  When there are increasing and concerning developmental delays, PHP will assist the family with another referral back for a second evaluation for Early Start eligibility.  For more information on PRRS visit http://www.dds.ca.gov/PreventionProgram/Index.cfm  

    Call Parents Helping Parents!  Feel free to call us at any time - when you first have concerns, when you are in the referral/intake/evaluation process, when your child is starting the Early Start or PRRS program, or whenever you wish. 

    Which California and Santa Clara County agencies provide early intervention?  

    The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is the lead agency for California's Early Start program and the Prevention Resource and Referral Services program.  Visit http://www.dds.ca.gov/ , click on "Birth to 36 Months" for more information
    about these programs.  The DDS website includes information about:
    •the regional center and family resource center/network in each county
    •parents' rights
    •information about and links to the federal and state statutes that govern Early Start
    •information regarding dispute resolution processes for children birth to 36 months

    San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) is a community-based California state funded program designed to serve persons with developmental disabilities, including children and families who are eligible for the Early Start program, the state early intervention
    program for children 0-3 (36 months). It is a private, non-profit corporation under contract for provision of services through the California Department of Developmental Services. SARC serves Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties. Some Early Start services are provided under SARC through vendored private programs.

    The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) website includes district and school information for Santa Clara County, a link to DataQuest (California Department of Education School Data, and legislative updates. In Santa Clara County San Andreas Regional Center has contracted with SCCOE to provide Early Start intake and evaluation. SCCOE also provides services to some Early Start families.

    Family Resource Center Network of California (FRCNCA)
    The mission of the FRCNCA is to support families of children with disabilities, special healthcare needs, and those at risk by ensuring the continuance, expansion, promotion and quality of family-centered, parent-directed, family resource centers. You can find the Family Resource Center for your California County at  




Denny DeHarne
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