Raising or caring for a child with special needs can be very challenging. Families do not always know where to start or who to turn too. Depending on the age of your child, there may be different programs or services available in your community. Below are some options for families to utilize to determine the best services or programs for their child.
Arizona Early Intervention Program – Birth to 3 years
The Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) is Arizona’s statewide, interagency system of supports and services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities and their families.
AzEIP is established by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides eligible children and their family’s access to services to enhance the capacity of families and caregivers to support the child’s development.
If you have concerns about a child that is between birth and two years, nine months of age, or would like to learn more, please call the Arizona Early Intervention Program at (520) 325-6495 or (877) 222-5432. Parents, family members or child care providers may also make an online referral to AzEIP.
Child Find – 3 to 21 years old
All public education agencies in the state of Arizona are required to locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities that are located within their geographical boundaries including children who are: homeless, wards of the state, or placed in private schools.
Child find applies to:
- Children aged 3 through 21 years
- Students who are highly mobile, such as migrant and homeless
- Children suspected of having a disability, even though they are advancing from grade to grade
- Private school students (Does not apply to charter schools.)
- Home school students (Does not apply to charter schools.)
What is Child Find?
A public education agency is required by law to screen preschool children with disabilities or suspected developmental delays, who may be eligible to receive special education services.
The purpose of the screening is to identify those children who may need a more detailed evaluation. There is no cost for this service. To locate a Child Find near you, or for more information, please visit AZ FIND.
Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) – 3 to 5 years old
If your child qualifies for services after being screened by Child Find, they may be eligible to attend an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program in your district.
Early Childhood Special education and related services is a state and federally mandated program for children (ages 3-5) who meet state eligibility criteria because they are experiencing developmental delays. Eligibility for children is determined by criteria that have been established by federal and state rules and regulations.
School districts and other public agencies are responsible for locating, identifying and evaluating eligible children and offering a free & appropriate public education (FAPE). Special education and related services for preschool age is referred to as early childhood special education (ECSE). It is important to remember that special education is not a place but a system of services and supports for children with disabilities.
ECSE services are provided through federal funding under the IDEA and state general revenue funds.
Exceptional Student Services K-12
Exceptional Student Services (ESS) is accountable for ensuring that all special education programs, regulations, and procedures are in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and eligible children and youth with disabilities are receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE). ESS provides exceptional customer service and technical assistance while enforcing the state and federal special education mandates to promote continuous improvement throughout the state.
For further information please visit the Exceptional Student Services (ESS) website, or call 602-542-4013
Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs
The Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs (OCSHCN) works to improve systems of care, provide information and referral to families, who would like assistance in finding the services available to their child; provide training to families and professionals on best practices related to medical home, cultural competence, transition to adulthood and family and youth involvement; and support telemedicine to provide services in remote areas of the state. Please visit at http://azdhs.gov/phs/owch/ocshcn/