California Early Start Program

  • The Marin County Office of Education is a participant in California’s Early Start Program.  Through our Early Start intervention program, infants and toddlers with special needs receive coordinated services during the first three developmentally critical years of a child’s life.  Eligible children are those infants or toddlers (birth through 36 months) who:

    • Have a significant delay in at least one area of development: cognitive (ability to perceive, think, problem-solve and remember information), physical (including fine & gross motor, vision and hearing), communication (speech and language, including understanding and using gestures, facial expressions and signing), social or emotional (the ability and motivation to relate to others), adaptive (including self-care such as dressing, eating, self-direction and problem solving)
    • Are at risk of having a developmental delay or disability
    • Have a condition with a known probability of causing a delay or disability

    Services for families may include the following:

    • Assistive technology, including devices or services
    • Audiology or hearing services
    • Family training, counseling and home visits
    • Health services (diagnosis and evaluation only)
    • Medical services (diagnosis and evaluation only)
    • Nursing services
    • Nutrition services
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physical therapy
    • Psychological services
    • Respite services
    • Service coordination
    • Social work services
    • Special instruction
    • Speech and language services
    • Vision services

    Many agencies provide services to families in the Early Start Program.  Children who are eligible for services due to a low incidence disability and/or any other disabling condition are served by the Golden Gate Regional Center (415.945.1600).  Children who are eligible for services solely due to a low incidence disability such as Orthopedic, Vision or Hearing Impairments, are served by the Marin County Office of Education.

    The Marin County Office of Education operates a home and center based program.  The center program provides a classroom environment and operates 3 days per week for 3 hours per day.  Most toddlers attend this program for one or more days per week with their parent(s) so that program staff may assist the parents to work with their children in the identified areas of need.  Teachers in the Early Start program conduct frequent home visits, particularly with the infants, to address home-based issues.  Staff assists families in connecting with the wide array of services available, including attending medical appointments with the family, in order to help navigate a complex system of programs and services. 

    Prior to a child turning 3-years of age, Early Start teachers will coordinate the transition of the student and their family to either district or the Marin County Office of Education’s Early Intervention Program for those students who continue to be eligible and need special education services.