(2021, May) | Useful to Parent Centers, early intervention programs, and state lead agencies and policy makers involved in providing early intervention services.


Early intervention is the key to setting children with delays and disabilities on a path to long-term success. Yet children of color face barriers to accessing these services. There are several strategies states can use to address systemic racial inequities in the health and education systems in which early intervention services take place. In this report, The Education Trust identifies the strengths of state approaches and opportunities for increasing equity in providing early intervention services.

Access and download the full 16-page report

Access and download the 5-page Executive Summary

The report is 16 pages long, with a separate 5-page Executive Summary available. It describes:

  • the basics of early intervention,
  • what we know about equity in early intervention,
  • the impact of COVID-19 on early intervention services (a survey of states) and what was found; and
  • recommendations, with detailed discussion that includes state examples.

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About Early Intervention

Every child from birth to age 3 in the U.S. is entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Part C) to support in reaching developmental milestones if they have a developmental delay — that is, if they are meeting milestones more slowly than expected, or if they have a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in a delay. These early intervention (EI) services can have an enormous impact on a young child’s ability to learn and grow by supporting their family in assisting their child’s development and by strengthening physical, cognitive, communication, adaptive, and social-emotional skills. Read more about early intervention in our multi-part information suite, Babies and Toddlers.

Early intervention services are funded through a complex blend of federal, state, and local sources, and are authorized by IDEA Part C. States have to make difficult decisions about how to fund critical IDEA services, including early intervention services, because IDEA is historically underfunded by Congress. This often results in stricter eligibility requirements and other cost-saving measures that sometimes lead to a decrease in the number of children receiving services.

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