For Infants & Toddlers With Special Needs
The Early Start Program serves special needs infants and toddlers, ages birth to three years of age. These multidisciplinary services are provided to students and their families in cooperation with San Andreas Regional Center in home, community, and center-based environments.
Special Education Early Intervention: The Early Start Program
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education Early Start Program (Santa Cruz COE) is a multi-agency program monitored by the California Department of Developmental Services and the California Department of Education. The Early Start Program is California’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers, age birth to 36 months, who have or are at-risk for developmental disabilities or delays. Early intervention supports families and caregivers to increase their child’s participation in daily activities and routines that are important to the family.
Eligibility is determined by an assessment of the child in five developmental areas. San Andreas Regional Center and STARS Infant Program receive referrals from various primary referral sources and coordinate the assessment. Families can also refer their child to either of those agencies. If eligible, the child receives an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that meets his or her unique needs.
The Santa Cruz COE staff consists of teachers (Special Education Vision Impairment and Deaf/Hard of Hearing) and paraeducators, therapists (OT, PT, Speech,), and a nurse. The Santa Cruz COE staff utilizes a coaching philosophy to support families and caregivers to develop the skills and confidence needed to help their child learn and develop. Services are provided in the child’s natural environment which may include the home, daycare or park. In addition to direct services, the Santa Cruz COE staff works in coordination with San Andreas Regional Center service coordinators to provide information and referrals to community resources.