First Steps FAQs

Getting Started in KEDS

How do I get a KEDS account?

To receive a KEDS account, you will need to contact your POE (Point of Entry). If you serve more than one POE district, you will need one account for each district.

Why do I get logged out of KEDS while I am entering data?

There is a 30-minute inactivity timer in KEDS. After 25 minutes of inactivity, a pop-up message will appear warning you that you are about to be logged out due to inactivity. Making a change in the database by clicking the Update and Save button will restart the timer.

While entering assessment data and choosing the item answers, no change is made in the database until you click the Update and Save button.

If, entering data in long lists of items, it is recommned to stop in the middle and click the Update and Save button to reset the 30 minute timer.

In addition, since there is a timer on each page that you have open in KEDS, we recommend only having one window open at a time to avoid being logged out by a window you are not currently working on.


The child I need to enter data on is not in KEDS. Why not?

KEDS receives data updates from TOTS twice weekly and is generally updated on Monday and Thursday mornings. Once the child is available in KEDS, the POE will need to assign the child to the provider. For confidentiality purposes, only the POE is able to assign children. When children move, the county must be updated in TOTS as the county of residence is what determines the POE district in which the child appears. Question about a missing child? Use the First Steps Secure Messaging link on the Contact Us page to send KEDS a secure message.

How many providers can enter data in KEDS online for a child?

Only one provider can be assigned to a child at a time. The POE will assign children to the provider.


What are the approved curriculum-based assessments approved for First Steps?

  • Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System for Infants and Children, 0-3 years
  • Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP) Strands or Checklist, 0-3 years
  • Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers (CCITSN)
Online training on the Administration of the HELP and CCITSN is available online

Which protocol should I use?

Recommended practice is to use the most up-to-date versions of assessment protocols.

  • AEPS, use the protocol dated 2002
  • HELP Strands, use the protocol dated 1992-2007
  • HELP Checklist, use the protocol dated 1984-2004
  • Carolina (CCPSN), use the protocol dated 2004

Should I delete reports for children who leave or for whom I make a mistake?

No, records are not able to be deleted in KEDS. Instead, complete the following actions:

  • If a child leaves, or transitions out of First Steps or your caseload, indicate the discharge date in TOTS and TOTS will update KEDS.
  • If an assessment point was entered in error, update the assessment date to 1/1/2001 and we will disregard.

What are the steps to sending assessment data to KEDS?

Complete the following steps in the KEDS Online portal: Step 1: Verify ithe demographic information imported from TOTS. Step 2: Add assessment point details. Step 3: Enter assessment data. Step-by-step instructions on entering data in KEDS is located in the Baby KEDS/First Steps Online User Guide.

Can I send assessment data on children before they have an IFSP?

Yes, the KEDS Online database allows users to enter an assessment point for a child without an IFSP in place, so long as that child's record appears in KEDS. If a child has an IFSP in place, you are strongly encouraged to enter that date in the KEDS IFSP date field.

What if I made a mistake while creating the assessment point?

If you need to correct something you’ve added to the assessment point, you may edit the assessment point by first selecting it, then clicking the Edit button at the bottom of the assessment point.

Once an assessment has been created (when you have clicked the “Create an Online Assessment” button) you CANNOT change the ASSESSMENT CHOSEN field. This will result in a loss of data.

Fields like assessment date, IFSP begin date, and assessment point can be edited at any point before the data period cut-off. To view the timeline for the cut-off, go to the First Steps Timeline page.

If you have mistakenly created an assessment point, you may delete the assessment point using the red DELETE button to the right of the assessment point.

Questions? Email

What is the requirement for providers conducting a 5-area assessment?

The initial 5-area assessment is completed as part of the primary level evaluation. The PLE must enter that assessment data into KEDS. At the initial IFSP meeting, the team selects a primary service provider (PSP). This person will complete the annual and exit 5-area assessments and is responsible for entering that data into KEDS.

All providers on the team are still required to complete a 6th month and discharge progress summary and enter that information into the communication log in the child’s TOTS record.

Though KEDS does allow for a 6-month update, it is not required that the data be entered in KEDS.

Which IFSP date should I use in the assessment point?

If an annual assessment is being conducted to inform a new IFSP, the new IFSP date should be entered for that assessment point.

If the assessment is being completed to check the child’s progress, the last IFSP date should be used.

What are the data entry criteria in KEDS?

AEPS: Per publisher recommendation, every numbered item (ex: A.1; A.1.1; B.1; B.1.1) on the paper protocol must have a score of 0, 1 or 2. The maximum total score for each domain is listed as the “area raw score possible” in the results section of the protocol. There are no changes in data entry in KEDS for this instrument. Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs: On each child’s paper protocol, all items must be scored with a +, +/-, -, A+, or A+/-.
In KEDS, you may enter ONLY +, +/-, or – to increase the completeness of data received. Per publisher recommendations, you may score all items chronologically YOUNGER than the basal (the lowest age interval with all (+) scores) as (+)s; and you can score all items chronologically HIGHER than the ceiling (the highest age interval with all (-) scores) as (-)s, for EACH domain. HELP Strands and HELP Checklist: On each child’s paper protocol, every HELP item must have a credit of +, -, +/-, A or N/A. In KEDS, you may enter ONLY +, +/-, or - for each item to increase the completeness of data received. N/A and A credits are entered as a (-) in KEDSonline.

Per VORT recommendations, for the HELP STRANDS, WITHIN EACH STRAND, you may score all items chronologically YOUNGER than the basal (the lowest 2 items with all (+) scores) as (+)s; and you can score all items chronologically HIGHER than the ceiling (the highest 2 items with all (-) scores) as (-)s, within EACH STRAND.

Per VORT recommendations, for the HELP CHECKLIST, you may score all items chronologically YOUNGER than the basal (the lowest 4 items with all (+) scores) as (+)s; and you can score all items chronologically HIGHER than the ceiling (the highest 4 items with all (-) scores) as (-)s, within EACH DOMAIN.

All Instruments: EVERY item must have a score entered in KEDS. This requirement is designed to increase the accuracy and reliability of data collection for analyses.

Why can’t we use the assessment information entered in TOTS instead of entering item-level data in KEDS?

The assessment report information entered in TOTS is different than the item-level assessment data collected in KEDS. The item-level data for KEDS undergoes a comprehensive data analysis process which compares the data to Kentucky benchmarks and standards and then to the OSEP outcomes for the report.

What should I do with the child’s assessment protocol once data are entered in KEDS?

The protocol should be kept in a hard copy file by the person who conducted the assessment. It is to be kept in a secure location and maintained for six years. Any destruction of personally identifiable information must be carried out in compliance with both FERPA and HIPAA regulations. Lead Agency staff may request to see hard-copy protocols during site visits.

Providers should use protocol as they are intended by the publisher (one publisher protocol per child, which can be used multiple times for that child).

What do the additional child questions in the assessment point details mean?

Areas of concern are any concerns you have based on the information you collected in the current assessment. For instance, if you have a child who has been receiving speech services for the past year, and you detect some potential issues in gross motor, you would indicate that here.

Contributing providers are those who directly contribute to the completion of the current assessment. For instance, if you sought consultation from the child’s PT before completing the gross motor section of the assessment, you would check PT here.
Child’s health status is based on the child’s current health status, and indicates no, minor, OR major health concerns at the time of the current assessment, according to the provider’s clinical judgment.

What assessment date should I use if I assessed a child over two or more dates?

Assessments are designed to be conducted over the course of several visits. The last date on which you completed the assessment is the assessment date to enter in KEDS, for each assessment period.

If a different protocol was used in a previous assessment, do I have to use the same protocol on the child?

No. You do not have to use the same assessment instrument as was used in a child’s prior assessment. KEDS data analyses have been designed to allow for providers to change assessment instruments for a child, within the three approved assessments (AEPS, Carolina, HELP), as long as you document the change. However, providers are encouraged to use the same assessment for a child at each assessment point, so that child progress can more accurately be tracked. It is also recommended that providers be trained on EACH assessment instrument that they use.

Family Information

What information do I need to give my families about the Federal Office of Special Education's (OSEP) three child outcomes?

It is a great idea to educate your families about the OSEP outcomes, when they are ready for such information. The results of child monitoring according to the three (3) OSEP child outcomes are included in the State Performance Plan: Annual Performance Report, which is submitted to OSEP each February and then posted on the First Steps website in the spring of each year. You might start with introducing them to the Parent Guide for Children Birth to Three, which is posted on the Governor's Office of Early Childhood website. These are helpful family-friendly guides to Kentucky's early childhood standards. You can also review the OSEP Child Outcomes available on the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) website. The most important consideration for families is the progress of their own child, and steps they can take to implement interventions.


When do I need to enter my assessment into KEDS?

All entry assessments should be entered into KEDS within 10 days of referral. All annual and exit assessments should be completed within 6 weeks of completion of the protocol. TOTS data is imported into KEDS Online twice weekly, generally on Monday and Thursday mornings. The protocol should be entered as soon as KEDS has been updated with TOTS data. The date KEDS last received data from TOTS is located on the MAIN page after you log into KEDS.
All assessments for the fiscal year MUST be entered by August 15 each year to be included in the SPP/OSEP report. Any assessments entered after this date will be included in later analysis but will not be included in the SPP/OSEP reporting.

How are children removed from KEDS user accounts?

POE staff are able both to assign and to remove children, once the children have exited from First Steps. Due to confidentiality considerations, KEDS staff do not assign or remove children from user accounts.
To remove a provider from a child’s record, go to the record, click the Assign button and choose the blank at the top of the list. Now click Update.
You are welcome to do this for children whom you are certain have exited First Steps (only after their third birthday).