What is First Connections?
The First Connections Program is a statewide system of supports to assist infants, toddlers and their families. Children grow, learn, and develop at different rates and in different ways. Just as children are all individuals, families also have different abilities and needs. The First Connections Program works with families on an individualized basis to assist in locating and coordinating supports and assistance to enhance not only the child’s abilities but those of the family to assist their child.
The First Connections Program is authorized and funded through Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the Lead Agency for the Program. The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) is the division within DHS, which has administrative responsibility for implementation of the program.
Who can be a part of the program?
Children ages birth to thirty-six months who:
- Have a developmental delay in one or more areas of development. This delay must be 25% or more of their chronological age.
- Have a medical diagnosis that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay.
What can the program do to help?
The program helps locate, coordinate, and fund an array of 16 services to assist the child in developing to his or her fullest potential.
- Assistive Technology/Adaptive Equipment (and AT Services)
- Family training, counseling, and home visits
- Health services
- Medical services
- Nursing services
- Nutrition services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
- Service coordination services
- Sign language and cued language services
- Social work services
- Special instruction (developmental therapy)
- Speech-language pathology services
- Transportation and related costs
- Vision Services
The program also provides supportive services to families to assist them in understanding their child’s developmental abilities and helping to assist their child in developing. Services provided through the First Connections Program are:
- Free to eligible infants & Toddlers and their families
- Voluntary on the part of the family
- Provided by qualified professionals who meet state licensing requirements
Who do I call?
The First Connections Program maintains a Toll Free family help and information line at 1-800-643-8258 which any family or citizen may access. A referral to the program may be made by anyone. First Connections staff are ready to assist with calls and will contact a referred family to offer assistance and an overview of the program.
The following document information supports the First Connections Program.
Part C Reports
The following documents pertain to Part C.