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Apply for Early Start services (birth to 36 months) or request additional information from an Intake Specialist

Infants and toddlers (age 0 to 36 months) who are at risk of having developmental disabilities or who have a developmental delay may qualify for services. The criteria for determining the eligibility of infants and toddlers is specified in Section 95014 of the California Government Codeas at least one of the following:

  • a developmental delay of at least 25% in one or more areas of either:
    • cognitive
    • communication
    • social or emotional
    • adaptive
    • physical and motor development including vision and hearing
  • an established risk condition of known etiology, with a high probability of delayed development
  • high risk of having a substantial developmental disability due to a combination of biomedical risk factors

In addition, individuals at risk of having a child with a developmental disability may be eligible for genetic diagnosis, counseling, and other prevention services. For information about these services, see Early Start.

In addition to meeting eligibility criteria, to qualify for services through the Regional Center of Orange County the child must reside in Orange County. If the child lives in a county other than Orange, you can find the child’s local Regional Center using this directory.


Early Start Standardized Information Packet

The Early Start Information Packet provides an overview of the regional center system for individuals seeking services offered under the California Early Intervention Services Act (California Government code section 95000-95004). Additionally, the information packet provides a resource guide for individual and their families on person-served rights, contact information for their local regional center, the Department Office of Clients’ Rights Advocate and the protection and advocacy agency (W&I Code sections 4900-4906). For additional information, visit the DDS website.

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Early Start Family Resource Guides

Family Introduction to Early Start Brochure

An easy-to-read overview of the benefits of early intervention during the first three years of a child’s life, this brochure explains the steps to take if you have concerns about your child’s development as well as what services are available if your child is determined eligible for Early Start.

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Reasons for Concern Brochure

This resource presents information about risk factors, developmental milestones, and links to agencies that provide Early Start information, services, and support for families of children with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities.

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Early Start Family Resource Center Brochure

Parent-to-parent support through Family Resource Centers and Networks is a critical component of Early Start in California. This brochure introduces the statewide network of family resource centers, which are staffed by parents of children with special needs who actively collaborate with local regional centers and local education agencies to help parents and families access early intervention services.

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Early Start Community Infographic

This resource is an illustration of Early Start agencies, within the context of other service systems. QR codes provide links to websites with information about Early Start and other community agencies that provide services to young children and their families throughout California.

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