Understanding IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan)

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written document that outlines the early intervention services your child and family will receive.

An IFSP should include:

  • a statement of your child’s level of development (what you and others observe as well as the results of formal assessment measures).
  • a statement of your family’s resources, priorities and concerns as they relate to your child’s development (called “family assessment”).
  • a statement of major outcomes expected for your child and family, including when and how they will be achieved.
  • a statement of which early intervention services are to be provided and in what environments they will occur (such as your home, child care, a school program or private program).
  • a statement of when services are expected to begin, how often they will be provided, and how long they will continue.
  • the name of your service coordinator who will oversee the implementation of the IFSP.
  • the steps to be taken to support your child’s transition out of early intervention and into another program when the time comes.

The IFSP is a whole family plan with the parents as major contributors in its development. As the expert on your child, you provide information on her strengths, talents, preferences and difficulties, and you identify what you want for her. Along with your service coordinator, you help decide who will be on your IFSP team. Involvement of other team members will depend on what the child needs. These other team members could come from several agencies and may include medical professionals, therapists, child development specialists, social workers, and others. The IFSP must be fully explained to you, and you must give written consent before services can start.

The IFSP is an ongoing process and an evolving document that should respond to your infant’s or toddler’s changing needs. Your family’s IFSP should be reviewed every six months and updated at least once a year. If you feel your child’s early intervention services need to be changed or adjusted sooner than that, you can contact your service coordinator to request an IFSP review.