Two-Day Rule Regarding ECI Referrals

The Two-Day Rule is part of federal and state regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which encourages states to provide services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and delays. The Interagency Council on Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) funds local services throughout Texas.

Federal and state legislation require primary referral sources to refer children under age 3 to ECI for services within two working days of identifying a child as having a delay. The Texas regulation states that "All primary referral sources must refer a child under age three who may be in need of and/or qualify for comprehensive early intervention services. Referrals must be within two working days of identification, and must be made to an ECI-approved program for evaluation and assessment of the child."

The intent of this regulation is to ensure that every family which may need services have information about the availability of the government-funded program as soon as a delay or disability is identified.

Testimony from families about the positive impact of intervention and early referral influenced lawmakers to include time line requirements in legislation. When referred early, families have greater opportunities to take advantage of services.

Federal Regulations

34 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Sec. 303.321

(d) Referral procedures.

  1. The procedures required...must
    1. Ensure that referrals are made no more than two working days after a child has been identified; and
    2. Include procedures for determining the extent to which primary referral sources, especially hospitals and physicians, disseminate the information, as described in Sec. 303.320, prepared by the lead agency on the availability of early intervention services to parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities.
  2. As in...this section, primary referral sources include
    1. Hospitals, including prenatal and postnatal care facilities;
    2. Physicians;
    3. Parents;
    4. Day care programs;
    5. Local educational agencies;
    6. Public health facilities;
    7. Other social service agencies; and
    8. Other health care providers

State Regulations

40 TAC (Texas Administrative Code) 108.9

Primary Referral Requirements

All primary referral sources must refer a child under age three who may be in need of and/or qualify for comprehensive early intervention services. Referrals must be within two working days of identification, and must be made to a program for evaluation and assessment of the child. Primary referral sources include:

(1) hospitals, including prenatal and postnatal care facilities;
(2) physicians;
(3) parents;
(4) child care programs;
(5) local educational agencies;
(6) public health facilities;
(7) other social service agencies; or
(8) other health care providers.