What is Child Development Services (CDS)?

There always seems to be questions about Child Development Services (CDS). What are the different Parts? What is the process? What is the timeline? What is covered?………..

Experiencing these questions first hand, as providers ourselves, FCCAM has gathered information we will be providing through a series of posts on CDS. These informational posts should support us as providers in supporting the children in care and their families that are looking at the need for early intervention.

What is CDS?

  • Child Development Services (CDS) is a division of the Maine Department of Education. CDS consists of nine regional sites and a state office. The state office maintains a central data management system, system-wide policies and procedures, and provides centralized fiscal services for regional CDS sites.
  • Regional CDS sites provide case management and direct instruction for families with children from birth through age five who have developmental delays or disabilities.
  • Each regional site conducts Child Find, which is the process of identifying children with disabilities. Screenings and evaluations are provided in order to identify children who are eligible for services.
  • Regional CDS sites arrange for local services that include early intervention and special education and related services.
  • For families with children birth – 2, under Part C, they will each be matched with a Primary Service Provider (PSP) who works together with parents and caregivers to come up with strategies that can be built into the child’s everyday life.
  • Our services are voluntary.

Below is part of a typical script for Part C, that CDS uses to explain their services to parents or childcare provider;

“Getting started with our services consists of 2 visits.  During our first visit, we will complete intake paperwork and an eligibility evaluation that will take 1-2 hours. When the evaluation is over, we will give a brief review about the evaluation results. A report will be sent that will officially say whether or not your child is eligible. If your child is not eligible for services, we won’t need the next visit, though we can still meet if you want to review the report with us in person. If your child is determined eligible for Early Intervention, we will come out for the second visit which will be a Routines-Based Interview and a team meeting to develop a plan for services. This meeting takes about 2 hours and will include an in depth conversation with you about your everyday activities. This will help us develop of a list of things you want to work on, and then we will use this information to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan for your child and family.”

Here’s a direct link to the Department of Education page that provides information for online referrals.

The first important part of the time line providers need to be aware of is: Within three business days of receiving a referral contact with parent/guardian is to be made by CDS.

Contact will be by a representative of the regional CDS site serving the town in which the referred child resides. The purpose of this contact is to gather more information and discuss the concerns, provide information about CDS services and determine the family’s interest in scheduling any screenings or evaluations to determine if the child is eligible for services.

If parents decide to proceed it will be under 1 of 2 Parts, determined by the child’s age. Part B is 3 – 5. Part C is Birth – 2.

Regional Sites: CDS regional sites serving the various geographical regions of Maine. Not sure of which regional site provides services? You can search by town or call the State IEU at 877-770-8883.

Our next post in this series on CDS will cover “Child Find”.