OBJECTIVES. The objective of this study was to use a nationally representative longitudinal sample of children born in the United States in 2001 to estimate rates of eligibility for Part C early intervention, to estimate rates of access to services for developmental delays, and to examine factors that are associated with access to services.
METHODS. Data for this study were collected as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, which obtained data from participants when children were 9 and 24 months of age. Descriptive analyses were used to generate national estimates of the prevalence of developmental delays that would make children eligible for Part C services and rates of participation in early intervention services. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether child developmental delay, race, insurance availability, and poverty status were associated with the probability of receiving services.
RESULTS. Results indicated that ∼13% of children in the sample had developmental delays that would make them eligible for Part C early intervention. At 24 months, only 10% of children with delays received services. Children with developmental delays were more likely to receive services than those who do not have delays; black children were less likely to receive services than children from other ethnic and racial groups.
CONCLUSIONS. The prevalence of developmental delays that make children eligible for Part C services is much higher than previously thought. Moreover, the majority of children who are eligible for Part C services are not receiving services for their developmental problems. Strategies need to be developed to monitor patterns of enrollment in early intervention services and reach out to more minority children, particularly black children.