Federal Requirements on Early Intervention Services in Natural Environments
Part C of IDEA describes services for infants and toddlers with disabilities ages birth–2 and their families.
"The term "early intervention services" means developmental services that—
- to the maximum extent appropriate, are provided in natural environments, including the home, and community settings in which children without disabilities participate."
A statewide system described in section 1433 of this title shall include, at a minimum, the following components:
- Policies and procedures to ensure that, consistent with section 1436(d)(5) of this title—
- to the maximum extent appropriate, early intervention services are provided in natural environments; and
- 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."
"The individualized family service plan shall be in writing and contain—
- 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 the services will not be provided in a natural environment;
Part C services are required to be provided in the child's natural environment to the maximum extent possible. Relevant regulations include
- 34 CFR §303.13 — Early intervention services
- 34 CFR §303.26 — Natural environments
- 34 CFR §303.126 — Early intervention services in natural environments
- 34 CFR §303.344 — Content of an IFSP
- 34 CFR §303.700 — State monitoring and enforcement