Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Department of Human Services

Birth to 3 Program

The Birth to 3 Program is Wisconsin's early intervention program for infants and toddlers from birth to age 36 months who present a delay in their development, or who have been diagnosed with a long-term disability or medical condition that affects their development. Eligibility is based on a delay of 25% or greater in one or more of these five areas:

  1. Cognitive Development: How your child learns.
  2. Physical or Motor Development: How your child moves, sees and hears.
  3. Speech and Language Development: How your child communicates and understands other's communication.
  4. Social and Emotional Development: How your child responds, relates to and plays with others.
  5. Adaptive Development: How your child eats, dresses, and cares for his/her daily living needs.

Dane County contracts with two organizations for Birth to 3 services. Bridges for Families Birth to Three provides this service for children and families who reside within the Madison School District, while Birth to 3 Connections provides this service to children and families outside of the Madison School District within Dane County.

Referrals & How to Apply

A referral for a screening or evaluation of a child's development can be made by parents and family members, health care providers, child care providers, social service agencies, child welfare agencies, schools, and others.

If a child is found eligible, a service coordinator will work with the family to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that targets areas where support is needed. Birth to 3 therapy and service coordination is provided in the child's natural environment (e.g., family home, daycare, neighborhood playground, etc.)

About Dane County Birth to 3 Programs

Birth to 3 programs in Dane County use evidence-based practices that meet the requirements of Part C of the IDEA Act (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). This includes:

  • Primary Coach Approach to Teaming: All families and children are supported by an Early Interventionist (EI) team. One member of the EI team, with support of the whole EI team, acts as the primary coach to parents and other primary caregivers.
  • Natural Learning Environment Practices: Drawing on your family's everyday activities and your child's interests, services are provided in the child's natural environment, including home, child care and other settings.
  • Coaching as an Interaction Style: An adult learning strategy that promotes the parents' or caregivers' confidence and competence in supporting a child's learning and development.

View Cost Share information for the Birth to 3 Programs

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) oversees the Birth to Three programs in Wisconsin. Find a list of DHS Birth to 3 county contacts here.