Assistance for Children Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

What Laws Exist to Provide Services to Pre-School Children With a Disability?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law, requires that every state provide early intervention services for children from birth to age 3, and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for ages 3-5.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensures students with a disability are provided with Free Appropriate Public Education that is tailored to their individual needs. IDEA was previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act from 1975 to 1990.

How Can My Child Be Evaluated?

  1. Early Intervention Services (age 0-3): Parents can request a free evaluation from the state’s early intervention services program to apply for an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) . The Department of Health and Human Services Baby Net program provides these services in SC.Refer a child to Baby Net at 1-866-512-8881 or use the online referral at
  2. Individualized Education Program (IEP) (ages 3-5): IDEA also guarantees that eligible preschoolers, ages 3 to 5, can get an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and special education services through the public school system. Parents can request an evaluation through their school district. If the child qualifies for an IEP, the district will most likely offer a free spot at a preschool run by the

What Assistance Can Be Provided?

If your child has any physical or emotional problems leading to developmental delays, he/she may benefit
from an individualized program such as IFSP or IEP. Services are provided in everyday routines, activities and places relevant to the life of the family.

Developmental Milestones can be found at

What If The Evaluation and Assistance Are Denied?

The request for evaluation from either Baby Net or the school district can be denied. SC Legal Services may be able to provide free legal assistance to appeal the denial (assuming our income guidelines are met). SCLS also has available standard letters that can be used by parents in requesting an IEP.

More Questions?
This brochure is general information and is not everything you need to know before you rent. You should talk to an attorney if you have more questions or want advice on your specific situation.

Education Cases Accepted

  • Access to Education
  • Access to School Records
  • Bullying/Harassment
  • Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
  • Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP)
  • School Attendance
  • School Enrollment & Fees
  • School Record Disuptes
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
Other Legal Representation

  • Consumer & Bankruptcy
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Family
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Housing
  • Migrant Farm Workers
  • Probate
  • Public Benefits

Additional information may be found at:
South Carolina’s guide to free legal resources

This brochure was prepared by South Carolina Legal Services and is provided as a public service. Copyright retained by South Carolina Legal Services. Printed May 2021


South Carolina Legal Services is a statewide law firm that provides civil legal services to protect the rights and represent the interests of low-income South Carolinians.


All low-income South Carolinians will have full and fair access to justice.

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