On Tuesday, the US Department of Education released the long-awaited final regulations for the early intervention program under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a program that serves infants and toddlers through age 2 with developmental delays or conditions that have a high probability of resulting in developmental delays. These regulations will provide families, state agencies, early intervention service programs, and providers needed guidance. The department also released a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the IDEA Part B regulations. The Part C regulations and Part B notice are both available on the department's Web site and will be published in the Federal Register in the next couple weeks.
Although IDEA was signed into law in 2004, this is the first time that final regulations incorporating the provisions in the 2004 amendments to Part C have been released. The regulations focus on measuring and improving outcomes for the approximately 350,000 children served by the Part C program, with the goal of ensuring that such children are ready for preschool and kindergarten.
Changes are being proposed to the IDEA Part B regulations regarding cases in which a state or local educational agency seeks to use a child's or parent's public benefits or insurance (eg, Medicaid) to pay for Part B services. These proposed amendments to the Part B regulations would ensure the protection of the rights of parents and children and ensure that children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education while addressing concerns raised by state and local educational agencies regarding the burdens imposed by the current regulation.
APTA staff is analyzing the new final Part C regulations and the IDEA Part B proposed rule. A more detailed summary will be available soon.