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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. 


Opportunity for Public Comment

FFY15 Part C Federal Funds Application

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 16 and ending April 20, 2015.


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, 2015, through June 30, 2016. 


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 allocation since OSEP has yet to give the anticipated award amounts for FFY15.  These amounts will be used until the FFY15 award amount is disclosed.


Public hearings regarding the application for Part C federal funds will be held as webinars on March 27, 2015 and April 9, 2015.   These webinars provide opportunity for interested individuals to comment on the content of the FFY 15 Federal Application for Part C Funds.  Interested individuals may attend the webinar at the Points of Entry (POEs) listed below.  Oral comments will be accepted from participants during the webinar.  The purpose of the webinar is to collect comments about the application.  State Lead Agency staff will not answer questions concerning the implementation of the application or any other question regarding First Steps during the webinar. The State Lead Agency responses to comments will be included in the grant submission documents. 


The scheduled dates for the webinars are:


March 27, 2015 at 10 AM, Eastern Daylight Time /9 AM Central Daylight Time for the following POEs:  Cumberland Valley, Big Sandy, Kentucky River, and Northern Kentucky.


April 9, 2015 at 2 PM, Eastern Daylight Time / 1 PM Central Daylight Time for: Purchase, Green River, Barren River, Bluegrass and KIPDA.


Written comments related to the application will be accepted through close of business April 20, 2015. 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.


KY FFY2015 Application





Last Updated 2/19/2015
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