First Steps is Indiana's early intervention system, serving children ages birth through two years of age experiencing developmental delays or disabilities and their families.

Transition is a complex process, not a static event. Therefore, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) must include the steps taken to support the transition of the child and family into, within, and from the First Steps Early Intervention System prior to reaching age three.  A variety of transition issues must be reviewed and considered with each family in order to ensure that there is continuity of services and that transition planning and activities occur to ensure the success of the child and family in the new setting.  Activities shall be conducted to facilitate transition from the early intervention system which may include, but are not limited to: transition to preschool special education services, Head Start, and other transition options.

  • With parent consent, by the 30 month birthday, the service coordinator will send the LEA the most recent IFSP, the most recent evaluation and reports, and other relevant information.
  • The service coordinator should clearly explain the role of the LEA and the timelines involved so that the family can understand why it is important to share information with the LEA to ensure that there is no gap in services.
  • The service coordinator must complete a transition packet during the IFSP transition meeting between 90-270 days prior to the child's 3rd birthday.
  • The service coordinator should involve all IFSP team members in this process by inviting members to the meeting and sharing the transition packet after the meeting with those who could not attend.
  • During the transition meeting, the service coordinator must work with the family to create a transition plan that includes outcomes, service providers, timelines, etc. (Issue clarification, 2003).
  • The service coordinator should share a full array of options concerning appropriate and available placements so that the family can make a truly informed decision.
  •  LEAs must be invited to attend transition meetings unless the family does not give consent.
  •  The service coordinator should coordinate as much as possible with the LEA to facilitate attendance at the meeting.

Division of Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices (2014):

  • TR1. Practitioners in sending and receiving programs exchange information before, during, and after transition about practices most likely to support the child’s successful adjustment and positive outcomes.
  • TR2. Practitioners use a variety of planned and timely strategies with the child and family before, during, and after the transition to support successful adjustment and positive outcomes for both the child and family.
  • The service coordinator must discuss with parents their rights at each IFSP review or evaluation activity.
  • The service coordinator should confirm that families understand their rights by soliciting questions and asking if there is anything they can explain more clearly.
  • The service coordinator must discuss with parents their future service options and prepare them for the changes that may occur in service type and location.
  • The service coordinator should not solely focus on Part B services, but should share an array of possible community options and facilitate a discussion about which options best meet the family's needs.
  • The service coordinator must explain the transition process so that parents understand the timelines involved so that services continue uninterrupted.
  • Transition conversations should involve the IFSP team as well as the service coordinator and should be more than just completing the transition page of the IFSP. They should involve asking questions, discussing how parents can advocate effectively and encouraging parents to consider multiple options.
  • If the child is no longer eligible for early intervention services and is under the age of three, the service coordinator must notify all EI providers of the change in eligibility status and engage in transition planning that is documented in the IFSP and includes: identification of necessary/desired services, discussion of potential resources, and development of transition activities.
  • The service coordinator should make every effort to have a final face to face meeting with every family to allow for a discussion about transition to occur. The service coordinator should have open communication with the IFSP team about upcoming changes to eligibility so that the team members have the opportunity to talk with the family about next steps and the transition.
  • Research suggests that it benefits families to have on-going conversations about all of the available options for programs after First Steps (Head Start Bureau, 1989; Lazzari, 1991; Rosenkoetter, Hains & Fowler, 1994; Rous & Hallam, 2006).
  • Rous and Teeters-Myers (2006) suggest giving families many opportunities to ask questions and to visit programs so that they can make an informed decision. This type of involvement increases parental self-efficacy, which is associated with greater school-related parent engagement and improved academic outcomes for children (Rosenkoetter, Schroeder, Rous, Hains, Shaw, & McCormick, 2009).
  • Facilitating parent involvement in transition also lessens family stress (Pang, 2008).
  • Illinois created an excellent transition handbook for families. Check out this article by the Pacer Center.
  • First Steps will maintain agreements with other agencies that facilitate transition.
  • The service coordinator and providers should be aware of other agencies that work with First Steps on transition and how the referral process works. Agency representatives should be invited to transition meetings if families express interest.
  • The service coordinator, providers, and agency representatives should attempt to explain the differences between Part C (First Steps) and Part B (School). To assist with this, check out this article by Hands and Voices and this policy advisory for side by side comparisons.
  • The LPCC will support the establishment of inter-agency agreements.
  • The service coordinator and providers should be informed about LPCC activities so that they can be aware of any changes made regarding inter-agency agreements.

Division of Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices (2014):

  • L6. Leaders establish partnerships across levels (state to local) and with their counterparts in other systems and agencies to create coordinated and inclusive systems of services and supports.
First Steps State Administration:
Bureau of Child Development Services
402 W. Washington Street W453, MS-51
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739
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