Tri-Counties Regional Center

Applying for Services

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Eligibility Criteria for Services for Children and Adults


The Regional Center operates two separate programs, each with different eligibility rules.  The Early Start program is for infants, birth to 36 months.  The other program is for persons of any age who have a developmental disability.  Each person referred to the Regional Center will be considered for services in one of these two programs.

To be eligible for services, a person must have a disability that begins before the person's 18th birthday, be expected to continue indefinitely and present a substantial disability as defined in Section 4512 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. Eligibility is established through diagnosis and assessment performed by regional centers.*

Infants and toddlers (age 0 to 36 months) who are at risk of having developmental disabilities or who have a developmental delay may also qualify for services. The criteria for determining the eligibility of infants and toddlers is specified in Section 95014 of the California Government Code. In addition, individuals at risk of having a child with a developmental disability may be eligible for genetic diagnosis, counseling and other prevention services. For information about these services, see Early Start.*

The following are general criteria for regional center services for any person:

Any person believed to have a developmental disability, and any person believed to have a high risk of becoming the parent of a developmentally disabled infant, is eligible for initial intake and assessment services.
In addition, any infant having a high risk of becoming developmentally disabled is eligible for initial intake and assessment services.


Age-Specific Criteria

Early Start (Birth to 36 months)

An infant or toddler (age 0 - 36 months) may be considered "at-risk" for a developmental disability if he or she has one or more problems associated with developmental delay or disability, such as low birth weight, prematurity, prenatal exposure to drugs, alcohol or teratogens, or severe medical problems at birth. For more complete information, please refer to this link which will take you to the DDS Early Start web page,  link/.

TCRC provides free Intake and Assessment services for infants and toddlers who live in the TCRC service area and who are believed to be "at-risk" for a developmental disability. Often referrals are encouraged by a child's pediatrician and may also come from a public health nurse, child care providers or a concerned parent or grandparent. An Early Start Service Coordinator will obtain information from the parent and coordinate any assessments necessary to determine eligibility. If eligible, the Service Coordinator will work with the family to coordinate early intervention services.

Persons Aged Three (3) Yrs and Older

If a person has a developmental disability, they can be referred for services from the Regional Center.   In the state of California, the term developmental disability includes five conditions. These are intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other conditions similar to intellectual disability that require treatment similar to for a person with intellectual disability. A developmental disability must have occurred before age 18, continue indefinitely, and must pose a substantial disability in three or more major life areas. Decision about eligibility for services is made by a TCRC interdisciplinary team.


* Source : State of California Department of Developmental Services website  (link)