First Steps

First Steps banner

First Steps is Missouri’s Early Intervention system for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, who have delayed development or diagnosed conditions that are associated with developmental disabilities. The federal law governing First Steps is Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is the lead state agency responsible for implementing the First Steps program. First Steps is a voluntary program which provides families the tools they need to help their child be successful. For information on how to make a referral, click here.


Information for parents and guardians interested in First Steps, including how to make a referral, parental rights, and Early Intervention Teams (EIT).


Guidance and resources for First Steps providers, including those interested in becoming enrolled providers.

System Point of Entry (SPOE)

Guidance, information, and resources for First Steps System Points of Entry (SPOEs), including SPOE Directors and Service Coordinators.

First Steps Trainings and Resources

The Early Intervention section of the Office of Childhood provides a variety of training opportunities to First Steps providers, Service Coordinators and stakeholders. Providers and Service Coordinators are encouraged to continue to learn about and update their knowledge of First Steps. This webpage also has monthly newsletter information for First Steps providers and Service Coordinators with training opportunities, program updates, and more.

Billing and Payment Information

First Steps provider billing information and guidance on how parents can make their Family Cost Participation (FCP) payment.

Evidence-Based Practices

First Steps strives to follow evidence-based practices in early intervention as recognized by the best available research and knowledge from professional experts. First Steps has established an improvement plan and measurement tools to assist the field in achieving positive outcomes for children and families.

Transition from First Steps to Early Childhood Special Education

Guidance and resources for transitioning children from First Steps to Early Childhood Special Education.

Rules and Regulations

First Steps is governed by federal and state rules and regulations, including Part C of IDEA and the Missouri State Plan. Additionally, First Steps reports annually to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on performance standards.

Data, Budget and Reports

First Steps posts monthly and annual data reports, including the First Steps Family Annual Survey and First Steps expenditure reports.

First Steps Contact Information