Early Childhood Special education and related services is a state and federally mandated program for children (ages 3-5) who meet state eligibility criteria because they are experiencing developmental delays. Eligibility for children is determined by criteria that have been established by federal and state rules and regulations.
School districts and other public agencies are responsible for locating, identifying and evaluating eligible children and offering a free & appropriate public education (FAPE). Special education and related services for preschool age is referred to as early childhood special education (ECSE). It is important to remember that special education is not a place but a system of services and supports for children with disabilities.
ECSE services are provided through federal funding under the IDEA and state general revenue funds.