Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Development and Support Services (PA-CFD) 10: Early Intervention Services

Early intervention services promote the health and well-being of children who have or are at risk for developmental delays.
NA The agency does not provide early intervention services.
2020 Edition




Families participating in Child and Family Development and Support Services gain new competencies, improve child health and well-being, improve family functioning, and make family-community connections.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for referring individuals to services
  • Intervention curricula and/or materials
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Contracts or service agreements with community providers, if applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFD 10.01

Children receive all specialized services needed to promote their physical, cognitive, emotional, social, communicative, and adaptive development.


 When assessment reveals the need for specialized services the agency does not provide, it should refer the family to other qualified professionals.
Examples: Needed services may include, but are not limited to: 
  1. medical services;
  2. nursing services;
  3. visual services;
  4. audiological services; 
  5. speech and language services;
  6. orientation and mobility services;
  7. psychological services;
  8. nutrition services;
  9. family therapy; 
  10. occupational and physical therapy;
  11. assistive technology; and 
  12. special education.


PA-CFD 10.02

Children receive services that:
  1. take into account their ages, developmental levels, strengths, challenges, functional status, and social competence; and
  2. facilitate their ability to complete essential, age-appropriate daily tasks.


PA-CFD 10.03

Children receive early intervention services in inclusive settings where they can interact in a positive way with other children, to the extent possible.


PA-CFD 10.04

Families are involved in services and provided with information and education about:
  1. developmental delays and disabilities;
  2. the best strategies for lessening the effects of developmental delays and disabilities;
  3. meeting their children’s needs; and
  4. their children’s progress.


PA-CFD 10.05

Early intervention services:
  1. include family members’ ideas;
  2. use the family’s informal resources, such as toys, household materials, and family members;
  3. take advantage of learning opportunities that occur naturally during activities in which the family participates; and
  4. can be incorporated into everyday routines and activities.


PA-CFD 10.06

Families are linked to needed support services, including, as appropriate:
  1. individual counseling or parent-to-parent support groups; and
  2. financial assistance for specialized services that meet their children’s needs.