Special Education

Programs for Infants and Toddlers

Kern Early Start Services

Kern Early Start is a multi agency collaborative program to provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers from birth until age three who have a disability in any of the following areas:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive and Adaptive Development
  • Communication
  • Social and Emotional

Services are provided by Infant Development Specialists, Therapists, and others who have knowledge of working with very young children and their families. Children in this program are evaluated and have an “Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)” developed to address their needs and describe the services that they will receive. Services are provided in the home, the infant centers and other environments suitable for that child and his or her family.

Kern Regional Center works closely with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office, the Kern County Consortium SELPA, and Bakersfield City School District SELPA to evaluate and provide a full range of services to the infant/toddler and the family.

A family support program, H.E.A.R.T.S Connection, works closely with the family of infants and toddlers with a disability. The goal of the H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection is to help, encourage, provide resources, training and support to the families of children with disabilities. For more information, please call 661.328.9055

If you think you know an infant or toddler with a need for special interventions, you may obtain more information or make a referral through “Search and Serve”.


  • What is a IFSP?

    The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is both a process and a document intended to assist families and professionals in a community in their combined efforts to meet the developmental needs of a young child from birth to age three with special needs. The guiding principal of the IFSP is that the family is a child’s greatest resource, that a baby’s needs are closely tied to the needs of their family. The best way to support children and meet their needs is to support and build upon the individual strengths of their family. So the IFSP is a whole family plan with the parents as the most important part of the IFSP team. Involvement of other team members will depend on what the baby needs. These other team members could come from several agencies, and may include medical people, therapists, child development specialists, social workers, and others. The IFSP will describe the following: the child’s development levels; family information (with parents’ concurrence); the major outcomes expected to be achieved for the child and family; the services the child will be receiving; when and where he or she will receive these services, and the steps to be taken to support his or her transition to another program. The IFSP will identify the service coordinator. The IFSP may also identify services the family may be interested in, such as financial information or information about raising a child with a disability.

  • Handbook on Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Special Education Programs (pdf) (California Department of Education)
  • “Child Care for Children with Special Needs”
  • A Parent’s Guide To Accessing Programs For Infant, Toddlers, and Preschoolers With Disabilities (LDOnline)
  • “Questions to Ask about a Preschool”
  • IFSPWeb (Nebraska Department of Education)