Regional Center Eligibility and Services After Age 3: Transition from Early Intervention to Lanterman Act
Prior to age three, children across California can receive early intervention services from Regional Centers if they have been diagnosed with, or are at risk for, developmental delays or developmental disabilities. Early intervention for children under age three is mandated by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal law governing special education. Many children receive occupational, physical, and speech therapy from the Regional Center during this time, along with other early intervention services.
Once a child turns three, the child’s school district of residence becomes responsible for providing special education services under IDEA. The transition progress begins several months before the child turns three, so that an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is in place with the school district by the child’s third birthday (which is when Regional Center early intervention services end). To read more about the transition to special education, read our article, The Preschool Transition: Choosing a School and Preparing for Your First IEP.
Eligibility for Regional Center services
Services provided by Regional Center
Medi-Cal and Copayment Assistance
When your child turns three years old, ask Regional Center about enrolling your child in Medi-Cal. Through California’s Medi-Cal institutional deeming waiver for individuals with developmental disabilities, many Regional Center clients are able to enroll in full-scope Medi-Cal (i.e., Medi-Cal that includes the full range of covered benefits and not just emergency services) without regard to parental income, so long as the child’s personal income and resource levels fall below program thresholds. For more information, please see this article about the Medi-Cal waiver.
Regional Center can also help with copayments in certain situations. Learn more here.
Additional reading about your child's rights
For a user-friendly but comprehensive discussion of consumers’ rights under the Lanterman Act, please take a look at Disability Rights California’s publication, “Rights Under the Lanterman Act.”