Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Law and Regulations on EI Services in Natural Environments

WWW: Part C of IDEA (Reauthorized in 2004) describes services for infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth to 3) and their families.



  • WWW: §1432(4)(G) To the maximum extent appropriate, are provided in natural environments, including the home, and community settings in which children without disabilities participate.
  • WWW: §1435(a)(16) Policies and procedures to ensure that, consistent with section §1436(d)(5)--
    1. to the maximum extent appropriate, early intervention services are provided in natural environments; and
    2. the provision of early intervention services for any infant or toddler with a disability occurs in a setting other than a natural environment that is most appropriate, as determined by the parent and the individualized family service plan team, only when early intervention cannot be achieved satisfactorily for the infant or toddler in a natural environment.
  • WWW: §1436(d)(5) Content of the IFSP Plan: must "include a statement of the natural environments in which early intervention services will appropriately be provided, including a justification of the extent, if any, to which services will not be provided in a natural environment."


Under Part C, services are required to be provided in the child's natural environment to the maximum extent possible. Relevant sections of the current WWW: Part C regulations (2011) are:

  • 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     © 2012-2019 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute