Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Overview to Child Find Systems

Both Part B and Part C of IDEA contain explicit requirements for states to actively identify children and determine their eligibility for services.

Child Find Regulations for Part B of IDEA PDF: 34CFR§§ 300.111

  • (a) requires a state to have policies and procedures to ensure that all children with disabilities including children with disabilities who are homeless or are wards of the state and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disability, are birth to age 21 and are in need of special education and related services including children attending private schools and migrant or homeless children, are "identified, located and evaluated."
  • (c) Child find also must include - (1) Children who are suspected of being a child with a disability under PDF: Sec. 300.8 and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade; and (2) highly mobile children, including migrant children.

Regulations for Part C of IDEA state must have a "comprehensive child find system" with the purpose of identifying, locating, and evaluating all infants and toddlers with disabilities birth to age three as early as possible. The system must be consistent with Part B and meet the additional requirements of (34CFR§§ 303.302). Summary of "comprehensive child find system":

  • The lead agency with the assistance of the state interagency coordinating council ensures that the system is coordinated with all other major efforts to locate and identify young children by other state agencies and programs including MCH Home Visiting Programs, EPSDT, health, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EDHI), education, Early Head Start, child protection and child welfare programs including foster care and CAPTA, programs that provide services under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, child care programs, and tribal agencies.
  • It addresses the definition of eligibility (303.21) and standards for appropriately identifying infants and toddlers with disabilities.
  • It includes pre-referral procedures, the public awareness program (303.301), central directory (303.117); referral procedures, timelines and participation by the primary referral sources (303.303), an post-referral procedures including screenings, evaluations, assessments and timelines.
  • It targets primary referral sources including hospitals, including prenatal and postnatal care facilities, physicians, parents, child care programs and early learning programs, local education agencies and schools, public health facilities, social service agencies and other clinic and health care providers, public agencies and staff in the child welfare system, including child protective services and foster care, homeless family shelters and domestic violence shelters and agencies.
  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2018 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute