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  At the heart of family-centered care is the recognition that the family is the constant in a child's life. For this reason, family-centered care is built on partnerships between families and professionals.
Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was recognized as the first piece of federal legislation to specifically focus attention on the needs of the families related to enhancing the development of infants and toddlers. Rather than focusing specifically on the child, the Part C system concentrates on the family as a unit.
In Early Steps, a family-centered approach focuses on helping the family cope with meeting the challenges of caring for infants and toddlers with developmental delays. The family-centered approach empowers the family to work and partner with service providers, and supports the family as they make decisions about which services will be most beneficial to their family. It encourages providers and families to celebrate as they find success in supporting the child's needs within everyday routines, activities, and places.