Eligibility Requirements

Children under age three who live in Connecticut are eligible for Birth to Three System supports because they either:

  • show a significant developmental delay in one or more areas, or
  • have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay (specific list available at birth23.org in the “Referrals and Eligibility” section)

A professional evaluation team will meet with the parents and child in their home and use one or more standardized tests to evaluate the child’s strengths and needs. All areas of development are evaluated including:

  • cognitive abilities
  • communication skills
  • social or emotional behaviors
  • physical development, including vision, hearing, motor and health
  • adaptive skills (known as self-help or daily living skills)

All children aged 16 months and older are also screened for an autism spectrum disorder. Families of eligible children are offered comprehensive supports to meet their goals for their child and family.


What is a “significant developmental delay”?

Eligibility due to developmental delay is limited to those children under age three who show a significant developmental delay of two standard deviations (-2SD) below the mean in one area of development, or -1.5 SD in two or more areas of development.



The Connecticut Birth to Three System does not serve infants and toddlers who are at risk for delay due to environmental causes. Families of children who are evaluated and found to be not eligible are offered participation in a child development monitoring program and are given information about other supports in their community that may better meet their needs.



If there is still concern about the child’s development 90 days or more after a child is found not eligible, a re-referral should be made to 1-800-505-7000 and a new evaluation may be offered.


Any child who will turn three years old within 45 days is given information about seeking preschool special education supports and services from their local school district under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B.


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