Part C Extension Option (for Services Beyond Age 3)
The Part C Extension Option provides flexibility for states to extend IDEA Part C early intervention services for children with disabilities who are eligible for services under Part B.
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A state can elect to include a Part C Extension Option policy in its grant application. The Part C Extention Option is developed and implemented jointly by the lead agency and SEA, under which early intervention services can continue from age 3 until the child is eligible to enter kindergarten or elementary school, or for a portion of this period as described in 20 U.S.C. §1435(c) and 34 CFR §303.211.
In any fiscal year in which the appropriation for Part C funds exceeds $460 million, the Department of Education reserves 15% of the amount exceeding $460 million to award State Incentive Grants (SIGs) under 20 U.S.C. §1443(e) and 34 CFR §303.734. The SIG award is available to assist states offering the Part C Extension Option. No state can receive more than 20% of the amount available for SIGs in a fiscal year, and awards are based on the relative population of all states that apply for this SIG.
While the provision assists states offering the Part C Extension Option—making Part C services available to children with disabilities beyond age 3—states' ability to offer the Part C Extension Option is not dependent on the availability or acceptance of the SIG award.
See also: 20 U.S.C. §1432(5)(B)(ii)
OSEP Guidance and Resources
OSEP IDEA Part C Extension Option Policy Checklist (2022)
This OSEP IDEA Part C Policy Checklist identifies the requirements for the policy required under Section II. A. 13 of the IDEA Part C grant application for states that are implementing or plan to implement the IDEA Part C Extension Option.
Both the State Part C Lead Agency and the Part B Section 619 State Educational Agency programs must work collaboratively to jointly develop a policy, supporting the Part C Extension Option.
National Webinar: State Strategies for Seamless Service Delivery and Transition: Implementing the Part C Extension Option (2018)
The Part C Extension Option policy was designed to provide states the flexibility to allow toddlers who would be eligible to receive services under Part B, Section 619 to remain in early intervention after the age of three. In this presentation, the District of Columbia and Maryland share their rationale for deciding to use the option and their implementation approaches.
State Information and Resources
Connecticut-EIS OVER 3
This video provides a brief overview about the new option for families who have a child enrolled in Birth to Three who will reach age 3 birthday between May 20 and the start of school, and who is eligible for preschool special education.
Procedures related to exiting and transitioning from Connecticut's Birth to Three Early Intervention (EI) system were revised October 1, 2021. Revisions reflect that programs are now able to support qualifying families beyond their child's third birthday. This new option (EIS Over 3) will allow IDEA Part C early intervention services (EIS) to continue until the start of the school year. Families with children who are determined to be eligible for Birth to Three can remain enrolled until their child is functioning at age-level in all areas of development, their child reaches age 3, or when participation in the child's preschool special education program begins (start of the school year or implementation date on the IEP for late referrals) if EIS Over 3 is chosen by the family.
- Connecticut Exiting and Transitioning from Birth to Three Procedures (2021)
- EIS Over 3 Flow Chart (2021)
- EIS Over 3 FAQ (2021)
- Connecticut EIS Over 3 Notification of Family Rights and Options (2021)
- EIS Over 3 Consent Form (2021)
- Extension of Part C Beyond Age 3 Flyer (2021)
District of Columbia-Extended Option
Through the authorization of District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) Title: 5, SubTitle: 5-A in April 2013, the District of Columbia elected to utilize the option to provide families in early intervention with the option to receive IFSP services from age three until the beginning of the school year following the child reaching age 4, if the child has a current IFSP and is determined eligible for preschool special education and related services.
The policies and procedures specify responsibilities between Part C and Part B programs; clarify the differences between services received under Part C and Part B preschool special education; and specify requirements related to funding, monitoring and reporting.
- District of Columbia Extended IFSP Option for Children Age 3 to 4 Policies and Procedures (2014)
- Early Childhood Transitions FAQ (2020)
- District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education Early Childhood Transition Guidelines (2014)
Maryland-Family Choice Option
Policies and procedures for Maryland's Extended IFSP Option are incorporated into their regulations for the Infants and Toddlers Program (COMAR 13A.13.01 and COMAR 13A.13.02). Under this option, the child and family would continue to receive early intervention services with an educational component that promotes school readiness and incorporates pre-literacy, language, and numeracy skills through an IFSP until the child reaches age 4.
- Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program (MITP) Regulations (2013)
- Technical Assistance Bulletin on Effective Transition Practices: Supporting Family Choice at Age 3 (2016)
- A Family Guide to Next Steps: When Your Child in Early Intervention Turns Three (2018)
- Maryland Intra-agency Transition Agreement (2013)
Issues and Questions to Consider for States Exploring the Part C Option (NECTAC, 2005) includes finance, service provision, personnel development, family impacts, data system, and monitoring implications.