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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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. 


First Steps Regulations

First Steps Updated and Approved Administrative Regulations

902 KAR 30.001 - Definitions

902 KAR 30.110 - Point of Entry and Service Coordination

902 KAR 30.120 - Evaluation and Eligibility

902 KAR 30.130 - Assessment Service Planning and Assistive Technology

902 KAR 30.150 - Personnel Qualifications

902 KAR 30.160 - Covered Services

902 KAR 30.180 - Procedural Safeguards

902 KAR 30.200 - Coverage and Payment for Services


Draft Part C Application FFY14

FFY14 Part C Grant Application Now on Website

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services announces that the First Steps annual application for federal funds authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act is available for review and public comment beginning February 10 and ending April 11, 2014. The First Steps annual application to the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education is posted on the First Steps website at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/firststeps.htm.

The application packet, developed by U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSEP), includes a summary of the certifications, policies, procedures, methods, descriptions, assurances, and IDEA use of funds descriptions that the state will use to implement Part C of IDEA. Upon receipt and approval of this application, Kentucky will receive a federal grant award under IDEA Part C for the period of July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. 

The application is in a format required by OSEP. The costs included in this application only reflect those costs attributable to the federal IDEA Part C funds that are allocated to Kentucky and not the total cost of the First Steps program. The amounts listed in Section III, Description of Use of Part C Funds are based upon the current year (SFY14) allocation since OSEP has yet to give the anticipated award amounts for FFY14.  These amounts will be used until the FFY14 award amount is disclosed.

Written comments related to the application will be accepted from March 11, 2014, through close of business April 11, 2014. Written comments may be sent to: Paula Goff, Part C Coordinator, CHFS, DPH, 275 E. Main St., HS2WC, Frankfort, KY 40621 or to email address chfs.firststeps@ky.gov.



Last Updated 2/17/2014
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