Determining Eligibility for FCESS

A child and family living in New Hampshire may be eligible for FCESS if their child is experiencing developmental delays or atypical behaviors, has a diagnosed or established condition that has a high probability of resulting in a delay, or is at risk for substantial developmental delays if early supports and services are not provided. There are no income guidelines for FCESS. The following are the eligibility categories for FCESS:

  • Established Condition – a physical or mental condition with a high likelihood of resulting in a developmental delay (even when there is no delay at the time of referral to FCESS). Examples include, but are not limited to: autism, lead poisoning, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, severe toxic exposure, spina bifida, blindness, hearing impairments and Down Syndrome.
  • Developmental Delay – a 33% delay in one or more of the following areas:
    • Physical Development – This includes movement, balance, fine and gross motor skills, and sensory development such as seeing and hearing.
    • Cognitive Development- This includes skills pertaining to learning and thinking.
    • Communication Development – This includes your child’s skills in understanding the spoken word and ability to express themselves verbally.
    • Social or Emotional Development – This refers to your child’s ability to make and maintain relationships.
    • Adaptive Development – This refers to the skills used for daily living, such as dressing, eating, toileting and washing.
  • Atypical Behaviors – behaviors documented by the family or others (including the evaluation team) that are outside the parameters of typical child development.  Examples include:
    • Extreme fearfulness or other modes of distress that do not respond to comforting by caregivers;
    • Self–injurious behavior or extremely aggressive behavior;
    • Extreme apathy; and
    • Unusual and persistent patterns of inconsolable crying, chronic sleep disorder, regression in functioning, absence of pleasure, disinterest in adults and peers and inability to communicate emotional needs.
  • At Risk for Substantial Developmental Delay – experiencing 5 or more of the following factors. These factors could affect your child or you (the parent) or a combination of your child and/or you.

Documented conditions, events, or circumstances affecting the child including:

  • Birth weight less than 4lbs
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Gestational age less than 27 weeks or more than 44 weeks
  • Asphyxia (loss of oxygen at birth)
  • Infection
  • History of abuse and neglect
  • Prenatal drug exposure due to mother’s substance abuse or withdrawal
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure due to mother’s substance abuse or withdrawal
  • Nutritional problems that interfere with growth and development
  • Inter-cranial hemorrhage grade III or grade IV
  • Homelessness

Documented conditions, events, or circumstances affecting the family including:

    • Developmental disability
    • Psychiatric disorder
    • Family history of lack of stable housing
    • Education less than the 10th grade
    • Social isolation
    • Substance addiction
    • Age of either parent is less than 18 years
    • Parent/child interactional disturbances (example: failure to bond by parent or child)
    • Founded child abuse or neglect

If your child is found eligible for FCESS, the IFSP team will schedule a meeting to develop an Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP).

Next step: Developing the IFSP