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Promoting Choice, Self-Determination and Total Participation

Mid-Hudson Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC)

(Serving Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan & Ulster Counties)


FAQ - Internet Resources - Child Care Councils

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Click here to view Brochure in Mandarin

ECDC Training Information
Click here for ECDC Trainings

The EARLY CHILDHOOD DIRECTION CENTER at Independent Living, Inc. offers FREE, neutral information and referral services concerning children with disabilities:

  • Early Intervention Programs
  • Preschool Special Education
  • Child evaluation and assessment
  • Medical, Educational, and Social Services
  • Transportation
  • Day Care and Preschool Programs
  • Training Opportunities for Parents and Professionals
  • Other parent resources

Our services include:

  • Matching the needs of children with programs and community resources
  • Assisting parents in making fully informed decisions
  • Helping families to obtain the specific services they need
  • Following up to ensure that children are receiving appropriate support
  • Coordinating services between agencies
  • Providing parent education
  • Training day care, nursery school, and Preschool Providers
  • Providing a resource library

The EARLY CHILDHOOD DIRECTION CENTER at Independent Living, Inc. is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you would like to learn more about early childhood direction services in the Mid-Hudson Valley , please call us at (845) 565-1162 Ext. 209.

Early Childhood Direction Centers

Questions and Answers for Parents

What is an Early Childhood Direction Center ?

The Early Childhood Direction Center , also known as an ECDC, is a place where parents can call for information and assistance related to programs and services for children from birth to 5 years of age, who have special needs or whom you suspect may have a delay in their development. Special needs may include difficulty talking, moving around, thinking, learning, or behaving.

The ECDC also provides information and assistance to agencies, professionals, and other members of your community. You can call a Direction Center to talk about any concern you may have about your child.

Is there an Early Childhood Direction Center in my area?

There are 14 Early Childhood Direction Centers covering every county and borough in New York State . We have provided a link to the Direction Centers at the end of these questions. You can get information by calling the Center nearest where you live.

What kinds of information do the Centers provide?

People who work in the Early Childhood Direction Centers provide information about:

  • Infant and toddler services
  • Preschool programs
  • Special education services
  • Evaluation and assessment services
  • Transportation
  • Medical, educational, and social services
  • Day care and Headstart programs
  • Early intervention services
  • Financial assistance, including questions on insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Health services
  • Respite/recreation programs
  • Parent education programs and support groups.

What kinds of services can I receive?

Early Childhood Direction Centers can help you in many ways. They:

  • assist in obtaining services for your child
  • match the individual needs of your child with services available in the community
  • make referrals to agencies that can provide direct services near where you live
  • coordinate services between agencies and providers
  • follow-up to ensure that your child is receiving all the services needed.

Is the ECDC only for children who have special needs?

The Early Childhood Direction Centers focus on providing information and referral assistance to families of children with special needs who are under school age. You can, however, talk to the staff confidentially about any concern you have about your family or other children.

Are services available for families who have foster children?

Yes. Early Childhood Direction Centers work with foster placement agencies and assist foster families and guardians in securing needed services for children, with special needs, who are in their care. If necessary, the Direction Center will also work with the caseworker of the placement agency.

How do I know if my child has any special needs or a disability?

Call the Early Childhood Direction Center to ask questions about child development. The staff has materials they can send to help you monitor your child’s growth and development. They can also tell you about the resources in your community. Any information you provide to the Direction Center staff about your child, family or needs is strictly confidential.

Are Direction Center services based on economic need?

No. All services are provided free of charge.

Who makes the decision about what services my child receives?

Only YOU, as the parent, will make the final decision about any services for your child. The Direction Center staff will give you information about programs and services in your community and tell you what options are available to you. Once you have the information, you will be able to choose the program or service that best meets the needs of your family.

Will the same person be available every time I call the Direction Center ?

You can usually expect to talk to the same person at the Direction Center . When you first call, be sure to ask for the name of the person who is helping you. You should feel free to ask for that person whenever you call.

Many families wish to speak with someone in a language other than English. Many of the Early Childhood Direction Centers have bilingual staff available, or they can refer you to a community agency that can answer your questions in your preferred language.

What kind of follow-up can I expect?

Each Early Childhood Direction Center provides follow-up services until your child reaches school age. This occurs several ways. Some Centers call or send letters to partners every three to six months to see how things are going. Each Center contacts families at least once a year. Feel free to call a Center any time there is a change in your child’s needs.

Do I have rights as a parent of a child with special needs?

Yes, you do. If your child is under age three, your rights and responsibilities are guided by the Early Intervention System. If your child is age three to five years and has special learning needs, the preschool special education process through your local school district protects your rights.

How do I learn about my rights?

The Early Childhood Direction Centers can assist you and provide you with information on your rights and responsibilities. There are guides that are available to you through the centers.

Can I talk to other parents?

There are parents you can talk to in every community. These parents may have experienced the same feelings, worries, and questions that you have. It is a good idea to meet and speak with other parents.

Direction Center staff can link you up with parent support groups in your community. Some sibling supports are also available. These groups usually meet on a regular basis and welcome the participation of new parents and families.

What is the advantage of calling a Direction Center for assistance?

Early Childhood Direction Centers have many years of experience in your community and have direct access to resources. Because of this, they can help you get your child all the services that are needed. All the information you need can be provided by the Direction Center you contact. And, if you move to another part of the State, you will immediately be referred to the Direction Center in your new area.


NYSED- Special Education: From this link parents can access and download information including publications in Spanish.

Special Education Response To Intervention: A Parent's Guide to Response to Intervention- available in English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified), Russian, Haitian Creole, and Korean.

Internet Resources for Special Children: "An attempt to bring together valuable information for parents, educators, medical professionals, etc. who interact with children who have disabilities." Descriptions and valuable resources on various children's disabilities, e.g., Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, Down Syndrome; and information on financial planning, laws, rights and parenting/support resources.

The Council for Exceptional Children: The Council for Exceptional Children is the "largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted." Site includes ERIC clearinghouse on disabilities and gifted education; links to the ERIC database and to Exceptional child Education Resources; digests, fact sheets and frequently asked questions; public policy and legislative information.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Includes award-winning "facts for families" - fact sheets providing concise and up-to-date material on issues such as the autistic child, child sexual abuse, children's major psychiatric disorders.

Our Kids: "A web page devoted to raising kids with special needs." Includes reading lists, nutrition tips, links to autism, cerebral palsy, and down syndrome newsgroups.

SERI: Special Education Resources on the Internet: "A collection of Internet accessible information resources of interest to those involved in the fields related to Special Education." Comprehensive in its links to resources and information.

Advocates for Children: A New York City-based organization which "for over 25 years...has worked in partnership with New York City's most impoverished and vulnerable families to secure quality and equal public education services;" provides legal services, individual case representation, public education, training, organizing, research and policy analysis, impact litigation.

Family & Advocates Partnership in Education: "The Partnership is a new project which aims to inform and educate families and advocates about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA 97), a law which supports the achievement of high standards for the 5.8 million children eligible for special education in the U.S."

Families Together in NYS: A non-profit, parent-run organization that "strives to establish a unified voice for children with emotional, behavioral, and social challenges." Their mission is to "ensure that every family has access to needed information, support, and services."

IdeaPractices: A site containing a wealth of information for parents, attorneys, advocates, and educators on special education law and regulations pertaining to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Parent to Parent of New York State: A program dedicated to connecting and supporting families of individuals with special needs through such services as parent matching, parent training and information, and assistance with educational advocacy.

Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP): The Relatives as Parents Program is designed to assist grandparents and other relative caregivers who have taken on the role of primary caregiver for related children. RAPP provides education, training to learn new parenting and coping skills, mutual peer support groups, inter-generational activities, respite, referrals and access to appropriate community based services and resources. "A multidisciplinary internet resource for parents of special needs children, as well as attorneys, special education administrators, teachers, psychologists, and others with a need for information relating to Special Education law."

Mental Health Resources for Early Childhood Educators and Families

Orange County Services At-A-Glance

Early Intervention Services at the Department of Health

Please click here to view New York State Education Department - Rights for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Ages 3-21, Procedural Safeguards Notices

Please click here to view Special Education in New York State for Children Ages 3-21- A Parent's Guide



Child Care Council of Dutchess, Inc.
70 Overocker Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Phone: (845) 473-4141
Fax: (845) 473-4161


Child Care Council of Orange County , Inc.
Ms. Linda Martini, Director
40 Matthews St. Suite 103
Goshen, NY 10924

Phone: (845) 294-4012
Fax: (845) 294-4045


Sullivan County Child Care Council, Inc.
Ms. Donna Willi
P.O. Box 864
7 Community Lane
Liberty, NY 12754

Phone: (914) 292-7166
Fax: (914) 292-1755

Family of Woodstock, Inc.
Ms. Carol Sisco, Project Director
P.O. Box 3516
39 John Street
Kingston, NY 12402

Phone: (845) 331-7080
Fax: (845) 331-0526



(Office of Children & Family Services – Early Childhood Services)
Frances Franco-Montero, R.O. Manager
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Yonkers Regional Office
525 Nepperhan Avenue-Room 205
Yonkers, NY 10703
(914) 376-8810

Mid-Hudson Early Childhood Direction Center
5 Washington Terrace, Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: 845-565-1162 ~~ Fax: 845-565-0567 ~~ Videophone: 845-764-8384
Funded by the New York State Department of Education through the Office of Special Education.

Independent Living, Inc. is a consumer directed, cross-disability organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Our vision is a barrier-free society with opportunities for all persons to achieve their maximum potential. For more information: