Individual Family Service Plan

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An Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a plan for special services for young children with developmental delays. An IFSP only applies to children from birth to three years of age. Once a child turns 3 years old, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is put into place. This program was created by US Public Law 99-457.1

The IFSP is developed with service coordinator for a Part C eligible child and family. The service is available "Part C" (formerly Part H) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) The IFSP is set up to identify individualized supports and services that will enhance the child’s development. The IFSP is usually done at 6 month intervals but can be done more often if necessary.

The plan must include an assessment of child's present level of development, a statement of goals, support services that will be put in place to achieve those goals, date services will begin, name and identification of the service coordinator.

How an IFSP is different from an IEP:

An IFSP revolves around the family since it is the only constant a child has in their life. An IEP strictly revolves around the student, because it's the child's education which is being discussed. Therefore, the goals that are put into place within an IFSP are targeted towards the family versus the goals within an IEP, which are targeted specifically towards the student. An IFSP includes the locations of natural environments, such as home, parks, child care, and gym classes. This focus creates opportunities for learning interventions in everyday routines and activities. An IEP only includes formal, contrived environments such as school.

How an IFSP is different from an IPP:

IFSP stands for Individual Family Service Plan, and is reserved for children aged 0–3. The same center that supplies children 0-3 with an IFSP also supplies adults and older children with an IPP, or Individualized Program Plan. However, some centers, most notably Harbor Regional Center in Los Angeles County, call their above age 3 service plans "IFSP", or Individual and Family Service Plan. Courts have held this IFSP to be the same thing as the IPP that most centers use. 2


1Hallahan, Kauffman, and Pullen. Exceptional Learners. 11th ed. Boston: 2009.
Preparation for Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting

2 Claimant v Harbor Regional Center, OAH No. 2014050757 (July 1, 2014)