From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Infant Toddler Program offers life-changing services for infants with developmental delays and disabilities

June 9, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Idaho’s Infant Toddler Program is not well known, but the work it does for children ages birth to 3 years who have developmental delays or disabilities is life-changing.

Children who take part in early childhood education programs such as the Infant Toddler Program grow up to be more likely to graduate from high school and have higher incomes, less dependence on public programs, and fewer encounters with the criminal justice system because they often have their issues resolved.

The Infant Toddler Program offers an array of therapeutic, educational, and supportive services that may include developmental therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, service coordination, family training, and coaching.

The program uses evidence-based principles to help families support their child's learning at home, during daily routines. A lead therapist works with the parent or primary caregiver by sharing expertise, developing in-home strategies, and using coaching principals to meet the child’s developmental needs. This empowers the parent or caregiver to independently meet their child’s needs every day in their home or in the community between visits from the Infant Toddler Program. This is when learning naturally occurs.

The program, which served more than 4,200 Idaho children last year, is free for Idaho families who are referred to the program. It is paid for through private insurance for families who have it, Medicaid, and federal and state funds.

The program is growing -- enrollment increased 14.3% in the last five years. That means some families are currently on wait lists. This is concerning for us because timely access to quality early intervention services improves delayed skills for many children. As a child grows, delayed skills become more difficult to change. To help reduce the wait list, we’re exploring additional options and recruitment efforts for some positions that are difficult to fill, and using tele-therapy when it’s appropriate.

Learn more about the program, including how to make a referral at

I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at 

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