Family Centered Early Supports & Services
Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
Early Supports and Services (ESS) is at the heart of the comprehensive services we offer for children between birth and age three and their families.
We provide family-centered, individualized supports and parent coaching for children with a variety of developmental needs, including developmental delays, autism, and medical or social conditions that are likely to lead to developmental delays.
How do I know if my child is eligible?
To determine eligibility please visit our Start Here page.
What is Family Centered Early Supports & Services?
Family Centered Early Supports and Services (FCESS) is designed to help children under age three to get a good start in life, especially when there are concerns about developmental delays. In New Hampshire, FCESS is available to eligible children and their families in the time between the child’s birth and his or her third birthday.
Our multi-disciplinary team of licensed pediatric therapists, certified early childhood educators and early intervention specialists offers developmental evaluation, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special instruction, service coordination, parent coaching, referral to other community resources, and assistance with transition to preschool services, when a child is no longer eligible for FCESS.
The future of our society is largely dependent on how diligently we work to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the next generation. Studies have proven time and time again that by taking proactive steps to provide children with the early building blocks they need to grow and thrive, we are making an investment in our future workers and citizens.
The ESS staff works with families to support their children’s progression through Developmental Milestones, respecting families’ values, needs, cultures and priorities in the natural settings of homes and childcare facilities.
At 7 months, many children are able to:
- Turn head when name is called
- Smile back at another person
- Respond to sound with sounds
- Enjoy social play (such as peek-a-boo)
At 1 year (12 months), many children are able to:
- Use simple gestures (waving “bye-bye”)
- Make sounds such as “ma” and “da”
- Imitate actions in their play (clap when you clap)
At 1 1/2 years (18 months), many children are able to:
- Do simple pretend play (“talk” on a toy phone)
- Point to interesting objects
- Look at object when you point at it and tell them to “look!”
- Use several single words unprompted
At 2 years (24 months), many children are able to:
- Use 2 to 4 word phrases
- Follow simple instructions
- Become more interested in other children
- Point to object or picture when named
At 3 years (36 months), many children are able to:
- Show affection for playmates
- Use 4 to 5 word sentences
- Imitate adults and playmates (run when other children run)
- Play make-believe with dolls, animals, and people (“feed a teddy bear”)
PRIDE is a small discretionary fund available to assist families in emergency situations. Staff and Family Support Advisory Council members review each request. A maximum of $300.00 may be approved in a one-year period if funding allows.
Respitality is the “gift of time.” It provides caregivers the opportunity to spend one night at a hotel of their choice (from a list of participating hotels). The vendor will arrange the hotel accommodations. There may be a waiting period depending on where you want to stay.
Additional Questions About ESS
Q: How do I start?
A: Anyone, including parents, pediatricians, relatives and child care providers, can make a referral to FCESS. Parents who have concerns or questions about their child’s development often make referrals. Initial calls should be made to our FCESS Intake Manager at 603-206-2732.
Q: Do I need a referral from my pediatrician?
A: No, not for the initial Intake appointment. Parents may self refer by calling us directly. If, after the Intake, a parent wishes to proceed with the evaluation, FCESS will ask the parent to sign a permission form asking the child’s pediatrician to order the evaluation.
Q: How do I know whether my child is eligible?
A: The Intake Manager meets with the family to learn about the family’s concerns regarding their child’s development and schedules an eligibility evaluation at a mutually convenient time. Typically, this takes place in the family’s home, where the child is most comfortable.
The evaluation is play-based, using age appropriate toys and play activities to assess the child’s skills in all areas of development. Evaluation teams include at least two professionals with expertise in infant and toddler development. To be determined eligible for FCESS, children must meet the State of New Hampshire’s eligibility criteria of a developmental delay of 33%, an established condition, being at risk for substantial developmental delay, or demonstrating atypical development.
Q: What happens next if my child is eligible for services?
A: The family, the FCESS providers, and anyone else the family wishes to include develop an Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP). This plan reflects the family’s and child’s strengths, needs, and priorities, as identified by the family and the evaluation team. The IFSP defines goals and identifies strategies for attaining those goals. Services include parent coaching, and “carry over” activities designed to help parents support their child’s development between home visit/therapy sessions.
Q: If my child is eligible, where will services be provided?
A: Services are provided in a natural setting such as the child’s home or child care. Parent coaching is at the heart of FCESS, so, whenever it is possible, we prefer to have the parent(s) present when services are provided. This allows the parents to learn strategies to carry over activities throughout the child’s daily life. After every visit, progress notes, along with any suggested activities for the week, are written up and a copy is given to parents.
Q: How many providers will be working with my child?
A: A child eligible for the program will have a primary provider who will work with him or her across all areas of development. A child’s primary provider may consult with other therapists or educators as necessary to be sure all of a child’s developmental needs are met. Having one consistent provider allows children to feel comfortable with and form a solid relationship with him or her. We believe this approach results in ESS services being provided in a seamless, efficient, and comfortable manner for the whole family.
Q: If FCESS services are available from birth to age three, does that mean my child will automatically receive services until his/her third birthday?
A: Not necessarily. Once eligibility for the program is determined and an Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP) is developed, the child’s FCESS provider(s) regularly check the progress made on the goals described in it.
If it is determined that services are no longer needed, families and staff make a decision together. Families are encouraged to call FCESS at any time before their child turns three if other developmental concerns come up that may warrant further evaluation.
Q: FCESS is available to eligible children until their third birthday. What happens when my child turns three?
A: Each child enrolled in FCESS has a Provider who also serves as their Service Coordinator whose job includes assisting families with planning for education, therapeutic services and/or community engagement as appropriate, when the child leaves FCESS.
Often, but not always, FCESS children transition to special education preschool services when they turn three years old. Other times, children participate in community-based preschool or play group programs. The goal is always a smooth transition from FCESS to whatever preschool program or community-based activities best match the individual child and family needs.
Q: Can I afford this service for my child?
A: FCESS is funded through state and federal monies, Medicaid and private health insurance, and other community resources. No child will be declined services because of the family’s lack of financial resources.
Q: Are there other services available to my family if we are receiving ESS?
A: Yes. The Moore Center’s FCESS services include information, referral, and some financial assistance for disability-related expenses or respite care. If your child is diagnosed with a condition that requires services beyond the capacity of the FCESS Program, referrals will be made to appropriate specialists or community resources.