A Parent’s Guide to an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

An IFSP is a document that organizes a plan for young kids who need early intervention services. It is customized for each kid, as well as including a plan for the family. For instance, when kids receive early intervention services, parents may also need the training to support their kids’ needs. Because an IFSP is customized for the individual, every IFSP will be distinct.

You’ve just found out your kid is eligible for early intervention. What’s next? An IFSP. An IFSP is a process you go through and a document that you and a team of specialists construct to assist you and your kid. In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about an IFSP.

Difference Between an IEP and IFSP

An IFSP is a blueprint that guides your efforts to boost your kid’s development up to age 3. An Individualized Education Program (IEP), on the other hand, is a plan for and for kids ages 3 to 21.

IFSP: A Plan for the Family

Think of the IFSP as the foundation—and a road map—for your family’s involvement with services. It lays out what services your kid should receive and what results you and the team hope to achieve for your kid.

A key tenet of early intervention is that services happen in an organic setting—where you and your kid feel most comfortable. This is your home, but it could also be a place like a community center.

The IFSP takes into account your kid’s present level of functioning. It focuses on what your family needs to best support your kid. What are your priorities for your kid and your family? The IFSP builds on the personal strengths of each family member. Together, this helps individualize the plan for your family.

You must give your consent in writing before the plan is formally enacted. You know your kid best. If you feel a service isn’t right for your kid, you can decline it at any time. This won’t hurt your kid’s chances of receiving other services.


Who puts together the IFSP? The IFSP team must consist of:

  • You
  • Additional family members
  • An outside advocate
  • A service coordinator who administers the IFSP
  • Professionals charged with the assessment of your kid’s needs
  • Early intervention service providers for your kid or family

Updating the IFSP

The team reviews the IFSP every six months and must update it at least once a year. You and the team review your kid’s progress and your family’s situation together. This can help decide whether you need to make any changes in goals or other aspects of the IFSP.

You’re a major part of the IFSP process. Explore tips on what to include in an IFSP. The more info you know, the better prepared you’ll be to advocate for what your kid needs.

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