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.
A State may elect to include in its grant application a Part C Extension Option policy, developed and implemented jointly by the lead agency and SEA, under which early intervention services may continue from age three until the child is eligible to enter kindergarten or elementary school, or for a portion of this period as described under IDEA section 635(c) and 34 CFR §303.211.
In any fiscal year in which the appropriation for Part C funds exceeds $460 million, the Department reserves 15 percent of the amount exceeding $460 million to award State incentive grants (SIGs) under IDEA section 643(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 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.
While the provision assists States offering the Part C Extension Option, making Part C services available to children with disabilities beyond age three, States' ability to offer the Part C Extension Option is not dependent on the availability or acceptance of the SIG award.
See also: IDEA section 632(5)(B)(ii)
National Webinar: State Strategies for Seamless Service Delivery and Transition: Implementing the Part C Extension Option (2018)
The Part C Extension 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.
State Information and Resources
Connecticut-EIS OVER 3
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.
This video provides a brief overview about the new option for families who; have a child enrolled in Birth to Three, with a 3rd birthday between May 20 and the start of school, and who is eligible for pre-school special education.
- EIS Over 3 Flow Chart (2021): This flow chart walks users through the options for qualifying children and families.
- EIS Over 3 FAQ (2021): Frequently asked questions related to EIS Over 3
- Connecticut EIS Over 3 Notification of Family Rights and Options (2021): This notification is given to each family with a child who might be eligible for EIS Over 3.
- EIS Over 3 Consent Form (2021)
- Extension of Part C Beyond Age 3 Flyer (2021): This brief flyer announces that Connecticut's Birth to Three Early Intervention (EI) programs are now able to support families past their child's third birthday. It also outlines qualifications, benefits, and cost related to the extension of Part C beyond age 3.
District of Columbia-Extended Option
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.
- Early Childhood Transitions FAQ (2020): Frequently asked questions related to "Extended Option"
- 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 & 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.
- 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): This resource notifies parents of their right to choose to extend early intervention services through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) after age 3 until the beginning of the school year following a child’s fourth birthday. It explains the differences in the IFSP and IEP options, procedural safeguards and costs that apply if choosing to continue services through an IFSP versus moving to an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
- Maryland Intra-agency Transition Agreement (2013)
Issues considered in this document include finance, issues, service provision and personnel development, family impacts and data system/monitoring implications.