Birth to 3 Program

Wisconsin Birth to 3 Mission Statement

The Wisconsin Birth to 3 Program is committed to serving children under the age of 3 with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. We value the family’s primary relationship with their child and work in partnership with the family. We work to enhance the child’s development and support the family’s knowledge, skills and abilities as they interact with and raise their child.

The Birth to Three program provides services to children ages birth to three who have at least a 25% developmental delay. Services including physical, occupational, speech therapy, and educational instruction to parents are provided primarily in the home and day care settings. Children cannot be put on a waiting list. Bayfield County contracts with Northern Lights Services, Inc. to provide services.

WI Department of Health Services Birth to 3 website

The Birth to 3 Guiding Principles

Guiding principles outline what we believe to be important. They provide a framework for our decision-making. The following guiding principles were adopted by the Governor's appointed Interagency Coordinating Council in December, 1988.

Children's optimal development depends on their being viewed first as children and second as children with a problem or disability.
All children have the same basic needs for acceptance, affection, nurturing and security. The system should encourage the integration of children with disabilities with children who do not have disabilities. The developmental, social, emotional and physical needs of all children must be considered in the delivery of any service. We must always ask ourselves, are we considering the whole child or just one facet of the child?

Children's greatest resource is their family.
Children are best served within the context of family. Young children's needs are closely tied to the needs of their family. Both must be met to adequately serve the child. The nurturing, love, and commitment of a family cannot be replaced by any array of services. The best way to support children and meet their needs is to support and build upon the individual strengths of their family. The Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) focuses on how the system can support the "whole" family, its cultural values, strengths, and needs.

Parents are partners in any activity that serves their children.
Parents or primary caregivers have a unique understanding of their children's needs. They are the primary teachers of their children. They have the special bond of kinship and commitment that no professional will ever have. They must be given the opportunity and encouragement to be a part of the decision-making process and empowered so that they are a partner in the services developed for their child.

Just as children are best supported within the context of family, the family is best supported within the context of the community.
Families depend on the positive relationships they make through the formal and informal networks in the community. Community resources should be open and able to respond to all families. Successful supportive services value the integrity of the family, its unique needs and cultural heritage, and provide a link to traditional community resources.

 Professionals are most effective when they can work as a team member with parents and others.
This requires flexibility and openness, joint training experiences, shared views of infant and family development, and commitment to team cooperation. The abilities of a variety of individuals both paid and volunteer to teach, assist, and develop relationships which help families must be recognized and promoted.

 Collaboration is the best way to provide comprehensive services.
No single agency is able to provide all services to all children and families. Cooperation and shared responsibility are necessary components of a service system that is able to meet the varied needs of children and families. Just as agencies must establish partnerships at the local level, the state must assume a role as a partner with local communities to enhance our mutual ability to serve young children with disabling conditions and their families.

Early intervention enhances the development of children.
Early intervention is appropriate for children and families. It is often cost efficient and effective for society and the taxpayer. The goals of early intervention are to: enhance the capacity of families to meet the special needs of their child, maximize the potential for independent living, and reduce costs to our society.

Growth, Learning, & Communication

Birth to Three is Wisconsin’s early intervention program; Bayfield County Department of Human Services is responsible for providing services to eligible children and their families here in Bayfield County. The Birth to Three staff work in partnership with families to identify outcomes which will support a child’s ability to grow, learn, and communicate.

Individualized Family Service Plan

These outcomes provide direction throughout the process of planning the individualized family service plan (PDF) or IFSP, which is both a plan and a process. The plan is a written document that describes the outcomes for a child and family and the supports given to meet the needs and priorities identified. The process includes specific steps that moved through as services are obtained and plans are met for a child's and family's needs.