Developmental Delays and Disabilities and Preschool Special Education
Early Intervention (El) is a statewide system overseen by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. It provides coordinated services to parents of children under age 3 with disabilities or developmental delays.
El builds on and provides supports and resources to help parents and caregivers enhance children's learning and development through everyday routines. It is a collaborative, home- and community-based system.
In Ohio, preschool special education is available for 3- to 5-year-old children with disabilities. Any child suspected of having a disability should be referred to the local public school of residence for evaluation. The child does not have to be enrolled in the school to be evaluated, and there are no minimum income requirements.
For information about early intervention services, please visit ohioearlyintervention.org.
Information for parents about preschool special education is available at education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning/Preschool-Special-Education.
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education Grants provide high-quality early learning preschool services to prepare children for success in kindergarten. These services are available to eligible 4-year-olds in Ohio with family incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Children in families with incomes below 100% of the FPL can attend for free.
For participating programs and their contact information, visit education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning/Early-Childhood-Education-Grant.
Help Me Grow
Help Me Grow is a voluntary family support program for pregnant women and new parents. It is offered in every Ohio county through a well-established network. Help Me Grow is an evidence-based program that promotes healthy growth and development for babies and young children.
Visit helpmegrow.ohio.gov or call (800) 755-GROW (4769).
Medicaid-covered services are available for:
- Uninsured children up to age 19 in families with incomes up to 206% of the FPL.
- Insured children up to age 19 in families with incomes up to 156% of the FPL.
- Pregnant women in families with incomes up to 200% of the FPL.
- Parents or caretaker relatives with minor children in the home and incomes up to 90% of the FPL.
To apply, visit benefits.ohio.gov OR medicaid.ohio.gov/Portals/0/Resources/Publications/Forms/ODM07216.pdf.
If you have questions or need help with the application, contact your county department of job and family services. To find your county agency, visit jfs.ohio.gov/County/County_Directory.stm.
Nationwide Children's Hospital, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, provides preschool expulsion-prevention partnerships for licensed preschools and child care providers. Early childhood consultants can provide the following services:
- Observe and consult at your center or preschool.
- Provide recommendations on specific classroom strategies and interventions designed to have an immediate impact.
- Offer service recommendations and resources, including referrals to local mental health providers if necessary.
- Give recommendations for training and professional development.
- Link you with free early childhood trainings.
Call (844) 678-ABCs (2227), and you will be connected with a local early childhood mental health provider.
For more information, visit mha.ohio.gov.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) helps eligible low-income Ohioans stretch their food budgets and buy healthy food.
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program helps eligible pregnant women, women who recently had babies, infants and children up to age 5 who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition. WIC provides education and support; supplemental nutritious foods such as cereal, eggs, milk, whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, and iron-fortified infant formula; and referral to prenatal and pediatric health care and other programs.
Child Care Providers:
The Child Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) allows eligible for-profit child care providers to be reimbursed for providing nutritious meals and snacks to the children in their care. Participating centers must receive publicly funded child care for at least 25% of enrolled children or their licensed capacity (whichever is less), or at least 25% of the children in care must be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Family child care homes must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization and must be licensed. Children from birth through age 12 may receive CACFP benefits.
To apply, visit odjfsbenefits.ohio.gov.
If you have questions or need help, contact your county department of job and family services (JFS). To find your county JFS, visit jfs.ohio.gov/County.
To apply, visit odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/ns/wicn/wic1.aspx.
To apply for more information, visit education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/Food-and-Nutrition/Child-and-Adult-Care-Food-Program-CACFP.