State Services

Over the past several decades, families of children with disabilities have advocated for family support policies and programs that go beyond the basic services covered by IDEA. More than half of the states currently provide additional family resources, in the form of cash, vouchers, and/or service delivery models.

The services typically delivered through state government include the following:

Because state-funded services vary greatly from state to state (and even from community to community within any given state), nurses should take the time to familiarize themselves with the state-funded services in their area, as well as the agencies responsible for delivering these services. Nurses who work with families of children with disabilities will also find it helpful to know when the child’s disability occurred and when it was diagnosed. Some developmental disorders, such as Down syndrome, may be readily diagnosed at birth and the infant can be quickly enrolled in the early intervention system. Other developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or autism, may not be evident until months or even years later. Children may acquire disabilities as the result of injuries (e.g. traumatic brain injury or near-drowning) or illness (e.g. diabetes, heart conditions, lead poisoning, sickle cell anemia) at any age. All of these factors influence the family’s perceptions about the child’s disability and services available to the child.

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Under federal law, children with disabilities are entitled to specific services and resources through state agencies.



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