What is an IFSP?

By Amanda Morin

At a glance

  • An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is both a process and a document.

  • An IFSP is provided if your child is found eligible for early intervention services.

  • An IFSP can help infants and toddlers develop to their fullest potential.

When infants and toddlers need services, you may hear the term IFSP. IFSP stands for Individualized Family Service Plan. An IFSP is a written legal document that lays out the supports and services kids with developmental delays need to start catching up. 

IFSPs are covered by special education law, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They’re created for eligible kids from birth to age 3 who need extra help with physical, communication, self-help, cognitive, or social-emotional skills.  

The “family” part of an IFSP is important. An IFSP outlines what families need to help kids with early intervention. An IFSP takes into account kids’ present level of functioning and needs. But because young children develop skills so quickly, it’s key for family members to be involved in supporting development. 

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    About the author

    About the author

    Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.