Early Steps is a specific intervention program in the Florida healthcare system that targets infants and toddlers in age from birth to 36 months with risks or conditions of developmental disabilities. The program was implemented in 2013 and originally only provided services for children with manifested development delays and disabilities. Moreover, since 2013, there were also several additional projects employed which are related to the general goal of the intervention. In 2018, the program expanded to reach the children who are at risk of developmental disabilities but had not manifested yet.
Among the services that the program provides public and private early interventions that help reduce the symptoms or known risks of developmental disabilities. Children Medical Care website (2021a) states that “Florida’s Early Steps is a partnership with providers and families to deliver services that support children’s well-being and development where they live, learn and play” (p. 8). The program also organizes support groups and training centers for parents with disabled children. Moreover, through the program, parents can reach Florida and national experts on early development. Research and development projects are also a part of the program’s work. The program is fully funded by the federal government.
A parent can contact the program through the phone number listed on the Children Medical Services website. Additionally, the website (2021b) also states that “contact information for your local offices can be located by selecting your location on the map below” (p. 1). Through local offices, parents can get all the information they require. Before applying to the Early Steps program, parents should read the list of eligibility criteria and compare it to their child’s condition. However, it is also possible to undergo the screening provided by the program to find out whether the child is eligible.
Children’s Medical Services. (2021a). Division of Children’s Medical Services. Children’s Medical Services. Web.
Children’s Medical Services. (2021b). Early Steps eligibility. Children’s Medical Services. Web.