THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
ALBANY, NY 12234
SED Seal
                                           
                                                                      December 2008

Available in PDF Format for Printing

To:               District Superintendents                                      
                    Superintendents of Schools
                    Presidents of Boards of Education
                    New York City Board of Education
                    Principals of Public Schools
                    Organizations, Parents and Individuals Concerned with Special Education
                    Impartial Hearing Officers
                    Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
                    SETRC Professional Development Specialists
                    Regional School Support Centers
                    Municipality Representatives for Preschool Special Education
                    Early Intervention Officials
                    Approved Preschool Special Education Programs
                    Special Education Quality Assurance Offices
From:           James P. DeLorenzo  Signature of James P. DeLorenzo

Subject:        Early Childhood Direction Centers (ECDCs)

This memorandum provides important information regarding the role and responsibilities of the statewide Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) Network.  This network was established in the mid-1970s to provide information and assistance in obtaining community services and supports at no cost to parents and professionals involved with young children with disabilities from birth to age five.  In the past 30 years the field of preschool special education and early intervention has grown extensively in response to evidenced-based research citing the impact of early education and intervention for young children with disabilities on school success and preparation for independent adult life.  ECDCs provide a valuable resource and partner for New York State (NYS) to support the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities’ (VESID) work in preschool special education.

Each ECDC has staff who can assist parents in the referral of their children for special education and who provide training and parent education on the special education process. They provide important assistance to ensure the timely evaluation and provision of services to preschool children with disabilities, including providing assistance to school districts in identifying approved evaluators for children with limited English proficiency. ECDCs also link families, including those who are homeless or who care for foster children, to community supports such as respite, child care, Medicaid and other social services. They have a strategic role in addressing a number of activities to support the implementation of preschool special education in NYS and are engaged in the following activities.

As identified by the Temporary Task Force on Preschool Special Education, VESID recognizes and supports ECDCs as primary and essential partners to reach out and coordinate preschool special education activities among parents, school districts, approved programs and counties at the local and regional levels (www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/preschool/taskforce/finalreport1107.pdf). I encourage you to contact your regional ECDC as a primary resource for preschool special education in your area.  For information on the ECDC serving your county and region see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/ecdc/.   General questions about ECDC projects may be directed to VESID Special Education Policy and Program Development Support Services Unit at 518-486-7462.

c:       Rebecca H. Cort
          Patricia J. Geary