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Multiple public and private agencies continuously work together to identify, coordinate, and provide the needed services and resources that will help families assist their infants or toddlers to grow and develop. 

The Importance and Role of Partnerships

To maximize efficiency, reduce redundancy of services provided by various community partners, and to foster collaboration, AEA and Signatory Agency staff promote awareness of Early ACCESS procedures, support professional development related to Early ACCESS for community partners, participate in local Early Childhood Iowa Boards/Committees, and serve on related grant review committees. Additionally, the Signatory Agencies support and implement an interagency comprehensive system of personnel development to ensure that there will be sufficient numbers of qualified and skilled providers of Early ACCESS supports and services. 


  • Pre-service and in-service training conducted on an interdisciplinary basis, to the extent appropriate
  • Professional development for a variety of personnel needed to meet the needs of eligible children, including public and private providers, primary referral sources, paraprofessionals, and persons who will serve as a service coordinator

Lead Agency

In Iowa, the Department of Education is the Lead Agency for early intervention services.  The Lead Agency is responsible for the development of policies and procedures to meet federal requirements for the implementation of IDEA-Part C, 2004. The reauthorization of the federal law requires the development or revision of new policies and procedures at the state and regional levels. 

The Early ACCESS Executive Committee (individuals representing the four Signatory Agencies, Council leadership, and families) and the Iowa Council for Early ACCESS review updated policies and procedures in their advice and assist role to the Lead Agency.

Signatory agencies 

The Departments of Education, Public Health, and Human Services and the Child Health Specialty Clinics have entered into an Interagency Memorandum of Agreement to support the ongoing implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive, integrated, interagency Early ACCESS system in Iowa. 

  • Iowa Department of Education is responsible for providing educational programs and services for preschool and school-age students, including children with disabilities, from birth through 21 years of age. 
  • Iowa Department of Human Services administers social service programs in order to help and empower individuals and families to become increasingly self-sufficient and productive. 
  • Iowa Department of Public Health administers public health programs in order to promote and protect the health of Iowans. 
  • Child Health Specialty Clinics are the statewide public health program for children with special health care needs, as designated by the legislature.

Area Education Agencies/Regional Grantees

Iowa AEAs, as regional grantees, have the fiscal and legal obligation for ensuring that the Early ACCESS system is carried out regionally across the state. The AEA may develop and implement interagency agreements/contracts with community partners.

Community Partners

Community partners are public or private community programs or agencies that serve young children and their families, that work with Early ACCESS.