Out of Catchment Services—Reminder

Out of Catchment Services—Reminder

Programs may enroll children from out of catchment, when they have the capacity to meet the individual needs of the child and family in the home or other community setting. In addition, programs must continue to inform families, in writing, of the program that serves the town in which they reside. EIPs are responsible for providing individualized services to families as outlined in the IFSP. Occasionally this means that services may be provided outside of the service area of the program. Programs are encouraged to consider requests for out of catchment services on an individualized basis.


Families should be kept informed of their rights as well as the accepted standards established by DPH in terms of catchment area. The Department is not obligated to support out of catchment transportation. However, individual requests to the vendor and/or transportation unit will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your Regional Specialist if you need any additional information.


Strategies for Collaboration:

 It can be challenging when a child who resides in your catchment area is in full time child care, outside of the catchment area. Families are challenged to balance employment with the needs of their child. EI providers are challenged by the obligation to ensure the timely provision of IFSP services.

An eligible child is entitled to the IFSP services—to meet the measurable outcomes and results identified in the IFSP. Ultimately, the program which serves the community in which the child resides, is responsible to provide IFSP services. While Part C regulations note exceptions for the timely completion of an evaluation/assessment, the regulations do not provide examples or exemption for not providing services to an eligible child. Programs are responsible for providing services within the catchment area. However, a child is “available” to access EI services even if they are out of the catchment area – their eligibility and entitlement to service is not affected by where they spend their day.

 The call you receive today may be the call you place tomorrow. While you are not obligated to assume responsibility for IFSP services for a child enrolled in another program, you may be able to provide alternative resources.

Collaborate and communicate. Within each region, there is typically at least one program which has several child care providers in the area. An open conversation with the leadership at other programs (who in turn, may choose to have an open dialogue with staff within their programs) may identify a staff person available to meet the needs of the child.

Share Responsibilities. Programs should determine a plan for service coordination and communication, particularly as transition approaches. The program responsible for providing a service may:

  • need to strategize with families for short term solutions, as services outside the catchment area are arranged
  • continue to provide service coordination either through direct (face-to-face) or indirect (telephone) contact
  • allow the program providing ongoing IFSP services to assume all responsibilities for service coordination (family would enroll as “out of catchment”) and become the provider as the child readies for transition as long as it would meet everyone’s needs.