Early Intervention

Early Intervention (EI)

Early Intervention (EI) is a statewide, integrated, developmental service available to families of children between birth and three years of age. Children may be eligible for EI if they have developmental difficulties due to identified disabilities, or if typical development is at risk due to certain birth or environmental circumstances.

EI provides family-centered services that help the developmental progress of eligible children. EI helps children gain the skills they will need to continue to grow into happy and healthy members of the community.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health runs and oversees the statewide system of Early Intervention services. The Family Ties website has in depth information about Early Intervention services.

Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services Early Intervention Program
Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition
250 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-624-6060

Early Intervention Specialty Services

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Blindness/Vision Loss
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Complex Medical Needs


Any Massachusetts child up to three years of age and his/her family may be eligible for EI services if the child:

  • Is not reaching age-appropriate milestones in one or more areas of development.
  • Is diagnosed with a physical, emotional, or cognitive condition that may result in a developmental delay.
  • Is at risk for developmental delay due to various biological and/or environmental factors.

 Each Early Intervention program is certified to provide services for a specified group of cities and towns called catchment areas.  Some of the larger catchment areas have more than one certified Early Intervention program.  Parents may want to find out more about each program before having an eligibility evaluation.  A family may only enroll in one Early Intervention program at a time.

Call the Central Directory for Early Intervention at 1-800-905-8437 or go to Find Your Early Intervention Program serving your city or town. Call and speak with a local Early Intervention program to make a referral.

What happens after a referral?

An EI team will conduct a developmental assessment with the child and family to determine eligibility. This assessment will focus on specific areas of child development, including areas related to cognitive, language, motor, social, emotional, behavioral, and self-help skills.


Fact Sheet last updated on: 6/4/2021