Do I qualify for Inland Regional Center (IRC) services? How do I apply? This Eligibility page was designed to answer those questions and more. From qualification criteria to assessment details, this page has you covered!
To receive Regional Center services, a person must meet requirements that are defined by law. These requirements are called Eligibility Criteria. This section will explain Eligibility Criteria and the laws that establish these requirements.
Regional Center eligibility criteria is defined by law, in Section 4512 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. The information below is provided as a summary and a reference guide for those seeking to learn more about how to qualify for Regional Center services.
Diagnoses that may qualify a person for Regional Center services include, the following developmental disabilities:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Intellectual Disability
- Conditions closely related to, or that require treatment similar to, that required for an intellectual disability
In addition, to qualify for Regional Center services, a person’s developmental disability must:
- originate prior to age 18
- be expected to continue indefinitely
- be a substantial disability, meaning the person experiences significant limitations in three or more of the following areas: self-care, language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency
The law states that learning disabilities, or disabilities that are solely psychiatric or physical in nature, are not included in the definition of developmental disabilities.
Lastly, in order to qualify for Inland Regional Center (IRC) services a person must meet all eligibility criteria and reside in IRC’s catchment area: Riverside and San Bernardino counties. If you live in a county other than Riverside or San Bernardino, you can find your local Regional Center using this directory.
If you believe you meet IRC’s eligibility criteria please visit our Intake section for application information and helpful tips.
Infants and toddlers (birth to 36 months) with a developmental delay or disability, or who are at risk for a developmental delay, may qualify for Early Start services. The Early Start program ensures that infants/toddlers with delays and/or disabilities receive early intervention services using a coordinated, family focused approach.
Early Start eligibility criteria is defined by Section 95014 of the California Government Code, as at least one of the following:
- a developmental delay of at least 33% in one or more areas of either cognitive, communication, social or emotional, adaptive, or physical and motor development including vision and hearing
- an established risk condition of known etiology, with a high probability of delayed development
- high risk of having a substantial developmental disability due to a combination of biomedical risk factors
In addition to meeting eligibility criteria, to qualify for Early Start services through Inland Regional Center the child must reside in IRC’s catchment area: Riverside and San Bernardino counties. If the child lives in a county other than Riverside or San Bernardino, you can find your local Regional Center using this directory.
If your child meets IRC’s Early Start criteria please visit our Intake section for assessment and application details.
The assessment process for an individual to qualify for Inland Regional Center (IRC) services is called Intake. During this process, Inland Regional Center will gather social, psychological, and medical information to determine eligibility.
The Intake process varies slightly depending on the age of the applicant. In this section, you will find Intake information for applicants over age 3, as well as Early Start Intake information for infants/toddlers younger than 36 months.
Step 1: Request an Application
Requesting an Intake Application is the first step in applying for services. An applicant can do so by either completing an online questionnaire or by calling our Intake Department. If appropriate, the applicant will receive an Intake packet containing an application, consent forms, and additional information about eligibility and Regional Center processes.
Referrals are made by parents or legal guardians of applicants under age 18. An applicant age 18 and older should refer themselves. If the applicant would like to have a family member or friend assist them during the process, they must first give consent.
To request a packet by phone, please call the Intake phone number for your county:
Riverside County Intake – (951) 826-2648
San Bernardino County Intake – (909) 890-3148
Step 2: Application
Once the applicant receives the Intake packet, they should fill out the application and sign the consent forms and return them via mail, fax or email. The application helps IRC establish eligibility, so it is important that it is filled out completely, with the best and most current information available. Sections in the application include:
- Applicant (and family) information
- Health history
- Self-help skills
- Behavioral characteristics
- Contact information for medical providers and/or school
Note: Medical and school records are very important in establishing Regional Center eligibility. Medical Records, Psychoeducational Assessments, and/or Individual Education Plans (IEPs) will be required during Intake.
After the application, consent forms, and all required records have been received, the Intake team will review them. If the Intake team determines that the application/records do not establish eligibility, the applicant will receive a letter informing them of that decision. Appeals information will also be included with the letter.
Step 3: Social Assessment
If the applicant’s records and application are accepted, a Senior Intake Counselor will be assigned and a Social Assessment will be scheduled. During this assessment, an IRC Intake Counselor will verify information gathered in the application such as family, health, and developmental history. The Counselor will also collect information about the applicant’s abilities, such as self-help skills, communication/social skills, challenging behaviors, and more.
Step 4: Medical/Psychological Assessments
After the Social Assessment has been completed the Intake team will schedule a Psychological and/or Medical Assessment with IRC’s Clinical Team. These assessments determine if the applicant has a diagnosis that qualifies them for Regional Center services.
Step 5: Team Review
After all assessments have been completed a Team will review the documents. This review will the Intake Counselor, physician and/or psychologist. Then the applicant will be contacted to discuss assessment results and diagnosis.
If the applicant is found eligible for IRC services, a Service Coordinator will be assigned within 30 days to begin the service planning process.
It is highly recommended that new Consumers and families will learn about how IRC provides services, the type of documentation used, and the roles Service Coordinator, Consumers, and families play in the process. IRC Orientation dates and locations can be found on IRC’s Calendar of Events.
Step 1: Contact Inland Regional Center
To begin the Early Start Intake process a parent, or legal guardian*, must contact IRC’s Early Start Intake department. During this phone call, the Coordinator will gather information about the applicant, in the following areas:
- fine and gross motor abilities
- cognitive development
- self-help and adaptive
- social and emotional development
The Intake Coordinator will also discuss the reason for referral and any areas of concerns the parent/guardian may have about the applicant.
Riverside County Early Start Intake – (909) 890-4763
San Bernardino County Early Start Intake – (909) 890-4711
Para solicitar servicios de Early Start en Español, llame al (909) 890-4763.
*On occasion a person who is not the child’s parent/guardian, such as a grandparent, neighbor, or physician, may contact IRC to refer a child. The Intake team will document the concern, then contact the parent/guardian to ask if they would like to continue with the Intake process.
Step 2: Early Start Team Review
Following the phone referral, the Intake Coordinator will present the applicant’s developmental characteristics and any other relevant information to the Early Start eligibility review team. This team is comprised of professionals specializing in early childhood development and can include, Early Start Program Managers, physicians, and Infant Service Coordinators. The team will review the applicant’s referral, including any existing developmental assessments and/or medical information that was provided.
If the review team determines that there is not sufficient concern for an assessment, the applicant will receive a letter informing them of that decision. The letter will provide information about IRC’s appeals process and how to self-refer if concerns continue.
Step 3: Assessment/Eligibility Determination
If the team determines that the applicant should continue in the Intake process, an assessment will be scheduled. These assessments are performed by a team of two Early Start professionals, such as therapists, infant teachers, or Infant Service Coordinators. To determine the applicant’s eligibility, at least two developmental assessment tools will be used. After all assessments have been completed, results and eligibility will be discussed.
If the applicant is eligible for Regional Center Early Start services, the team will develop an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) that outlines needs, goals, and services.
If the applicant is not found eligible for Regional Center Early Start services, the team will explain IRC’s appeals process. The team will also provide referrals to resources and programs that may be beneficial to the applicant and their family.