The 2004 re-authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C, the Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities, requires each state receiving IDEA funds to identify a “lead agency” responsible for seeing that the purposes and provisions of IDEA are fulfilled and that, to the maximum extent possible, services are provided in a child’s natural environment.
In California, the Governor identified the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) as Part C lead agency for this comprehensive, interagency, community-based, family-focused system of services to eligible infants and toddlers. The lead agency for Part B (Pre-K-14) is the California Department of Education (CDE). DDS and CDE share administrative responsibilities for delivery of services to eligible infants and toddlers and their families based on specific eligibility under Part C of IDEA, known as “Early Start” in California.
Consistent findings on effective programs across fields of research demonstrate that one critical component of a system’s ability to produce positive child and family outcomes is the assignment of qualified and appropriately trained personnel to supervise and to carry out the services. The Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), as defined by IDEA Part C, is designed to provide the training and technical assistance necessary to ensure that cadre of trained personnel. In California, the Early Start CSPD provides the framework for coordinating the delivery of personnel development and technical assistance activities throughout the state. As the designated lead agency to administer Part C, DDS has identified pre-service preparation, in-service training and technical assistance as essential CSPD components to be delivered at the state and local levels through a variety of activities.