Extended Part C Option (for Services Beyond Age 3)
On, December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Public Law 116-260. This law provides $481.9 million in IDEA Part C funding and specifically allows for State Incentive Grants (SIGs) under IDEA section 643(e) and 34 CFR §303.734 to any states in FFY 2021 that elects to offer IDEA Part C early intervention services to children beyond age three as described under IDEA section 635(c) and 34 CFR §303.211 (extended Part C option).
In any fiscal year in which the appropriation for Part C exceeds $460 million, the statute includes authority for the Department to reserve 15 percent of the amount above $460 million for this program.
The purpose of this provision is to assist states that have elected to extend eligibility for Part C services to children with disabilities beyond age three until entrance into kindergarten or elementary school, or for a portion of this period. No state can receive more than 20 percent of the amount available for SIGs in a fiscal year and awards are based on the relative population of all of the States that apply for this SIG.
See also: IDEA section 632(5)(B)(ii)
National Webinar: State Strategies for Seamless Service Delivery and Transition: Implementing the Extended Part C Option (2018)
The Extended Part C Option is contained in the IDEA Part C regulations. The 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. The District of Columbia and Maryland share their rationale for deciding to use the option and their implementation approaches.
Through the authorization of District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) 5 DCMR §§3100-3199 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’s 4th birthday, 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.
Policies and procedures for Maryland's Extended IFSP Option are incorporated into their regulations for the Infants & Toddlers Program (COMAR 13A.13.01 and 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's 4th birthday.
See also: Technical Assistance Bulletin on Effective Transition Practices: Supporting Family Choice at Age 3 (2017), Maryland State Department of Education
Issues considered in this document include finance, issues, service provision and personnel development, family impacts and data system/monitoring implications.