Early Start Complaint Process

The purpose of the State complaint process is to investigate and resolve any alleged violations of federal or state laws or regulations governing California’s Early Start program including eligibility and services. Early Start is for infants and toddlers under the age of three who have a developmental delay or disability. Early Start is governed by:

Parents or any individual, agency or organization may file an Early Start State Complaint. The complaint may be filed against DDS, California Department of Education, any regional center, local education agency, or any private service provider receiving Early Start funds. Regional Centers and local education agencies must inform parents and other interested individuals or organizations of the right to file an Early Start State Complaint directly with the Department of Developmental Services.

Complete the Early Start Complaint Investigation Request form-DS 1827 English | Spanish or submit a written and signed statement. The complaint shall include:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the person filing the complaint;
  • A statement that a regional center, local education agency or any private service provider receiving Early Start funds has violated any law or regulation governing Early Start;
  • A statement of facts upon which the alleged violation is based;
  • The party allegedly responsible; and
  • A description of any voluntary steps taken at the local level to resolve the complaint, if any were taken.

Mail Early Start Complaints to:

Department of Developmental Services Attention: Office of Community Appeals and Resolutions 1215 O Street (MS 8-20) Sacramento, CA 95814

Voice: 833-538-3723 Fax: 916-654-3641

Email: appeals@dds.ca.gov

The Department of Developmental services is required to investigate the allegations and issue a written decision to all parties within 60 days of receipt of the complaint. The written decision will address each allegation and include the findings and conclusions; the reasons for the final decision; the required corrective actions to be taken; and, provisions for technical assistance.

If additional information is needed, contact your regional center, local education agency or the Early Start program at the address and telephone number above.


Last modified: May 13, 2024