Early Start

Father holding laughing young girl

The Early Start Program is California’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers who have or are at-risk for developmental disabilities or delays. Early intervention supports families and caregivers to increase their child’s participation in daily activities and routines that are important to the family.

First 5 Mendocino is an early start provider. The Pearl is an Early Start Family Resource Center (EFRC) through First 5 Mendocino. EFRCs provide supportive services which can include education, resources, and training to families with children who are at risk for or are experiencing delays or disabilities. EFRCs assist families with system navigation and linking families with appropriate services in their communities
Learn More About the Pearl Early Start Family Resource Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Early Intervention services support babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families.

Early Intervention services may include:
Assistive Technology
Audiology
Family Training, Counseling, and Home Visits
Health Services
Medical Services for Diagnostic/Evaluation Purposes Only
Nursing Services
Nutrition Services
Occupational Therapy
Service Coordination (Case Management)
Physical Therapy
Sign Language and Cued Language Services
Social Work Services
Special Instruction
Vision Services
Speech and Language Services

The evaluation, assessment, and service coordination are all done at no cost. Your service coordinator will provide more information on how early start services are paid.

Anyone. Anyone can make a referral, including the parents, medical providers, neighbors, friends, family members, foster parents, and daycare providers.

What happens after a referral?

Within 45-days the regional center or local education area will:

Assign a service coordinator to assist the family through evaluation and assessment procedures. Parental consent for evaluation is obtained.
Schedule and complete evaluations and assessments of the child’s development.
If an infant or toddler is eligible for early intervention services, an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be developed that addresses the strengths, and needs of the infant or toddler, parental concerns, and early intervention services.
Identify early intervention services that are provided in the family home or other settings.
If you know a family with a young child who needs specialized care or has a disability, there is help and support in your community!