The Division of General Pediatrics

USF Bay Area Early Steps Program

Each child grows at an individual pace, but research shows that a child's first three years are the most important time for learning. Getting help early puts your child on the right path to learn and develop at their full potential.

The University of South Florida Bay Area Early Steps Program holds the Children’s Medical Services Early Steps contract for the Bay Area, which covers Hillsborough and Polk Counties. Early Steps is Florida's early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop.

The relationships children have with their parents and other caregivers are important to early childhood development. These relationships are the foundation of the Early Steps approach to promoting child development. Early Steps services are based on Early Steps evaluations and your family‚Äôs concerns, priorities, and goals. Early Steps uses a Team Based Primary Service Provider approach which aims to empower each eligible family by providing a comprehensive team of professionals from the beginning of services until the age of three. The goal is for the family to receive strong support from one person, provide a comprehensive team of professionals from beginning to end, and for the family to have fewer appointments and more time to be a “family.” Services are provided to the family and child where they live, learn and play, to enable the family to implement developmentally appropriate learning opportunities during everyday activities and routines.

Features of Early Steps:

  • Brings services into the child's life rather than fitting the child into services.
  • Maximizes each child's everyday natural learning opportunities.
  • Enhances each child's development and participation in community life.
  • Provides each child with a consistent team for evaluation and services.
  • Gives families options in service decisions and encourages active partnerships.
  • Provides a primary service provider to work with your family, other caregivers, and the team.

For more information on Early Steps please visit the Children’s Medical Services Website:
http://www.floridahealth.gov/AlternateSites/CMS-Kids/families/early_steps/early_steps.html