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Child Find and Preschool Special Education
The passage of HB22-1295 established the Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) and the Universal Preschool Program. This new statewide preschool program will launch July 1, 2023 at which time the Colorado Preschool Program will sunset. The Colorado Department of Education will continue to administer preschool special education in accordance with IDEA and ECEA for children ages three through five. Questions about implementing CPP during the 2022-23 school year, or ongoing implementation of IDEA requirements for preschoolers, should be directed to the CDE Preschool Special Education staff or Preschool Regional Specialists.
Child Find for Preschool Children age 3 through 5 years old
Every school district or Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) has professionals trained to evaluate young children’s development including cognitive functioning, motor skills, hearing and vision, speech and language and social emotional development. This service is referred to as Child Find.
The purpose of the child find process in preschool is to determine whether a child has a need for special education services.
Preschool Special Education
Preschool special education is a state and federal mandated program for three- and four-year-old children who meet state eligibility criteria for special education and are experiencing challenges in their learning and development. A child is eligible if they have a significant delay in one or more areas of development, such as learning, speaking or playing.
Eligible children are entitled to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. This means that the required preschool services are to be provided in an inclusive setting at no cost to parents.