What is First Steps?
First Steps is a statewide early intervention system that provides services to children with developmental disabilities from birth to age 3 and their families. First Steps is Kentucky's response to the federal Infant-Toddler Program. First Steps offers comprehensive services through a variety of community agencies and service disciplines and is administered by the Department for Public Health in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Why Provide Services?
Typically, children who participate in early intervention experience significant improvement in development and learning. Children with developmental delays or conditions likely to cause delays benefit greatly from First Step services during critical developmental years.
Services and support also benefit families by reducing stress.
Early intervention services can decrease the need for costly special education programs later in life by providing appropriate services that address problems early in the child's development.
Who Does First Steps Serve?
First Steps serves children from birth to age 3 and their families. Child eligibility for the program is determined two ways:
- By developmental delay - A child may be eligible for services if an evaluation shows that a child is not developing typically in at least one of the following skill areas: communication, cognition, physical, social and emotional or self-help.
- Automatic entry - A child may be eligible if he or she receives a diagnosis of physical or mental condition with high probability of resulting developmental delay, such as Down Syndrome.
Where are First Steps services provided?
Services may be provided in the home, at child development or other designated centers or in a clinical setting, depending on the needs of the child and family and the availability of services in a given area.
||How Can I Learn More About First Steps Services?
Anyone can refer a child for First Steps services by calling 877-417-8377 or 877-41 STEPS.
First Steps is available in all Kentucky counties. Services are available to any child and family who meet developmental eligibility criteria, regardless of income. A family's participation in First Steps services is always voluntary. Referrals are directed to teams at the district Local Point of Entry offices that help children and families access needed services.
State Lead Agency Toll-Free Telephone
The state lead agency has set up a toll-free telephone number (877-417-8377 or 877-41 STEPS) and a dedicated e-mail account to assist points of entry, service coordinators, providers, parents and other stakeholders in accessing state lead agency office staff.