How Birth to Three Works

Are you concerned that your child — or a child you know — might have a developmental delay? Birth to Three can help.

Here’s what you can expect from the Birth to Three process from start to finish.

On this page

  1. Making a referral
  2. Getting an evaluation
  3. Developing a plan
  4. Getting Birth to Three supports
  5. Getting your child ready for transition

1. Making a referral

This is the first step. It’s when someone tells us about a child who might need help. Anyone can make a referral — parents, guardians, health care providers, teachers, and others. Learn more about making a referral.

If someone besides a parent or guardian made the referral, 211 Child Development will get in touch with the parent or guardian directly. Parents or guardians always get to decide whether they want their child to get the evaluation.

The Birth to Three System in partnership with 211 Child Development (211 CD) work diligently to send referrals to contracted programs in a timely manner. When a referral is made, families should receive a phone call back from 211 CD within 2 business days. If a parent makes the referral themselves online, a Birth to Three program will reach out to them directly. If referrals go beyond that without contact, please notify the Birth to Three System’s Child Find, Rebecca Smith at or (860) 500-4431

How would I know if a child has a developmental delay? Our providers can help you figure that out — our evaluations are free and can happen right in your home. You may also want to check out our milestones sheet, which outlines some of the typical skills that babies and toddlers learn by certain ages.

2. Getting an evaluation

Once a parent or guardian agrees to an evaluation, team members from a local Birth to Three program will meet with the child and parent. The team — which always includes a parent as a member — will evaluate all areas of development, including:

  • Cognitive skills — problem solving, remembering, learning
  • Communication skills — understanding and expressing ideas, following directions, pointing, talking
  • Social or emotional behaviors — relationships and expressing emotions
  • Physical development — seeing, hearing, movements and health
  • Adaptive skills — self-help or daily living skills

If a child is 16 months or older, we will also screen them for autism.

Learn more about the evaluation:

3. Developing a plan

If our evaluation shows that your child might benefit from Birth to Three supports, the team will will create an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). It’s like a roadmap for the support we can give and it will be tailored to your family’s needs and situation. Learn more about IFSPs.

What happens if my child isn’t eligible for Birth to Three? We can still help you find other programs that will help. Learn more.

4. Getting Birth to Three supports

Birth to Three will connect you with programs that can help your child thrive. The best program depends on what your child needs. Learn more about the types of programs we offer.

Our teams usually come to the child’s home. But we can also meet in child care programs or other settings that feel comfortable for you and your child.

Watch a video showing a typical home visit.

5. Getting your child ready for transition

In most cases, our services end when your child turns 3. But as your child gets closer to that milestone, we’ll help your family get ready. If your child will need special education services (which are offered by your local public school system), we can help you learn what to expect. Learn more about transition.

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