Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is a state and federally mandated program for children (ages 3-5) who meet state eligibility criteria because they are experiencing developmental delays. School districts and other public agencies are responsible for locating, identifying and evaluating eligible children and offering a free & appropriate public education (FAPE). Eligible children are entitled to a FAPE at no cost to the family. If a child is eligible, the public school district of the child must offer services to meet their identified needs.
Currently there are over 10,000 children receiving special education services (2019 data). Services are provided through programs in the local school district, in Head Start programs and other community early childhood programs funded through federal, state and local funds. It is important to remember that special education is not a place but a system of services and supports for children with disabilities.
Child Find is part of Arizona's system for identifying children suspected of having a delay. When a delay is suspected, or children are not meeting milestones, local school districts offer Child Find services to observe and evaluate children's play, communication, behavior, learning and movement skills. Please visit the Child Find resource page for further information about this service or call your local school district to request a screening.
Arizona's Child Outcomes Data Profile
States are required to report on three child outcomes for preschool to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) provides each state with a comparative analysis of state data to national data annually. View the 2017 State Child Outcomes Data Profile.