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Presentation on theme: "EARLY INTERVENTION AND"— Presentation transcript:

SPECIAL EDUCATION, EARLY INTERVENTION AND CROSS-SYSTEMS EDUCATIONAL ADVOCACY Rachel Elkin, Esq Jennifer Rosen Valverde, Esq., MSW Legal Services of New Jersey Rutgers Special Education Clinic

2 Educational Advocacy – Benefits
Maintain educational stability Increase developmental and educational gains made by children with disabilities Surmount barriers to enrollment, attendance and information-sharing Ensure FAPE provided Special education and related services Least Restrictive Environment for learning Improve educational outcomes Improved educational outcomes - National study of 1,087 foster care alumni found youth who had one fewer placement change per year were almost twice as likely to graduate high school before leaving care For infants and toddlers who receive timely EI services - Significant gains remain apparent at age 19 and need for special education services reduced by 50%

3 Special Education All children between the ages of 3 and 21 who have one or more disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance and are in need of special education and related services are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Under the Child Placement Bill of Rights Act, a child placed outside of her home by DYFS has the right “[t]o receive an educational program which will maximize the child's potential.” N.J.S.A. 9:6B-4(m)  Special Education and Related Services provided at public expense that meet State standards and are in conformity with the child’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which the child receives educational benefit. Hendrick Hudson v. Rowley-confer some educational benefit and must make meaningful progress. Under the Child Placement Bill of Rights Act, a child placed outside of her home by DYFS has the right “[t]o receive an educational program which will maximize the child's potential.”  N.J.S.A. 9:6B-4(m). 

4 Identification Child Find Referral to Child Study Team
Dated written request to Child Study Team (CST) Copy to district director of special services Teacher/School Staff Child Find: School districts must have policies, procedures, and programs in place to locate, identify, and evaluate all students with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. Referral: Discuss issue of referrals by third parties (non-parent/non-district staff) who are within “agencies concerned with the welfare of students.” (14-3.3(a)3ii). Parent: Explain under IDEA broad/expansive definition that Jenny will discuss further

5 Evaluation Request Initial meeting convened within 20 calendar days of receipt of written request : Child Study Team Parent(s) General Education Teacher At meeting determination is made whether evaluation is needed, and nature and scope of evaluation Excludes school holidays but not summer recess CST includes School Psychologist, Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant, and School Social Worker. Parental consent is required to conduct first evaluation unless district seeks due process and gets order to allow evaluation. Exception to consent requirement when child is ward of the state and the parent cannot be located after the district exercises reasonable efforts, if parental rights have been terminated-surrogate parent appointed and has given consent. Consent is also required: Prior to implementation of initial IEP; Prior to assessment as part of reevaluation (unless district can show that it took measures to obtain consent and parent failed to respond); Prior to release of student records; When District seeks to access private insurance; When IEP team member is excused from meeting participation; When IEP is amended without a meeting; and When parent and district agree to waive reevaluation. Consent can be revoked at any time but will not be retroactive. Actions that occurred after consent given but prior to revocation will not be negated District permitted to seek Due Process Parents can revoke consent for Special Education. Must be revoked in writing; District must provide parent with written notice; and District can’t seek Due Process.

6 Evaluation Request (cont’d)
Parent must be provided written notice within 15 days of a decision to evaluate and at least 15 days before any evaluation is done Notice must include: Determination of whether to evaluate Scope and Nature of Evaluation Request for Parental Consent Once parental consent is given, district has 90 days to conduct evaluation, determine eligibility, develop and implement child’s IEP. Other appropriate actions If district decides not to evaluate must provide written notice of what other interventions/504 referral will happen, parent has right to file DP/Mediation of denial. Must be in language understandable to general public. Notice and meetings are required to be conducted in language used for communication by the parent and student unless clearly not feasible to do so. General notice requirements: Description of action proposed or denied; Explanation of why action is being taken; Description of other options that the district considered and the reasons why they were rejected; Description of procedures, tests, records, reports, and factors used by district in its determination; Description of any other relevant factors; and Statement that parent has protections under procedural safeguards section of N.J.A.C. 6A:14. Means by which copy of procedural safeguards can be obtained, and Sources for parents to contact to get assistance in understanding special education. Proposed action can begin sooner if parent gives written consent. Parents should consent at time of initial CST meeting in order to trigger 90 day timeline.

7 Evaluation – other avenues
General Interventions Intervention & Referral Services (I&RS) Services for students with learning, behavior, health or other difficulties District based § 504 General Interventions: Not necessarily either/or situation, shouldn’t be used to delay SPED eval, district required to make direct referral for evaluation when nature of educational problems warrant evaluation without delay (14-3.3(d)) and when parent makes written request for evaluation it triggers requirement for meeting with child study to determine whether evaluation is needed. (14-3.3(d)1) Can include things like tutoring, behavior plans, parent consultation. 504: What Is 504?: Rehabilitation Act of 1973-prevents disability based discrimination. Anti-discrimination statute (access) as opposed to education law (IDEA). Definition: Child with disability is more expansive definition then under IDEA. Physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, person has a record of such impairment or regarded as having an impairment. For example-learning, caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing SPED/504: All SPED children are 504 eligible but not vice versa. Common examples can include epilepsy, severe allergies, diabetes, ADHD at times What does 504 provide: Child must be provided with FAPE, LRE, and must be evaluated by team knowledgeable about child and suspected disability using appropriate assessment measures/standards. Must assess nature and extent of disability and services needed. Eligibility must be documented and parent notified of decision and plan for services-504 plan often similar to IEP. If need SPED, evaluation should be done. Common modifications/accommodations include: extended test time, seating, barrier removal, adjusted class schedule, curriculum modification, medical monitoring, drug administration, behavior plan, counseling, maybe o/t-p/t Procedural protections: Not as extensive as SPED. Written notice, reevaluation prior to change in placement. Not entitled to all disciplinary protections, but if behavior manifestation of their disability school cannot change placement due to discipline action.

8 Evaluation Process Initial review of information district already has and taken from various sources such as: Classroom assessments Teacher observation Parental input

9 Evaluation Process (cont’d)
Initial review serves as basis to decide what other information is needed to determine: Disability Educational needs Present level of academic achievement Related developmental needs Whether child is in need of special education and related services Accommodations/modifications needed for child to meet goals in IEP and participate in the general education program

10 Evaluation Process (cont’d)
Evaluation conducted by multi-disciplinary team of professionals At least 2 members of CST Where appropriate, other specialists Variety of evaluation/assessment tools Evaluation/assessment tools: Administered in language and form most likely to yield accurate information unless clearly not feasible. Must be selected/administered not to be racially/culturally discriminatory

11 Evaluation Process (cont’d)
No single procedure to be used as sole criterion for determining eligibility or appropriate program Child must be assessed in all suspected areas of disability Must identify and assess all of child’s needs Parents entitled to receive copy of reports prior to IEP meeting to determine eligibility

12 Types of Evaluation/Assessments
Educational Psychological Social Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy Speech Psychiatric Audiological Central Auditory Processing Functional Behavioral Assessment Medical Neurological Neuro-Developmental Neuro-Psychiatric Assistive Technology Vocational Obligation for multi-disciplinary evaluation, if child needs district must provide even if this requires district to contract with third party.

13 Hypothetical Christopher is 4 years old has a history of disruptive behaviors at his day care preschool program. Christopher’s parent requests that he be evaluated for special education. The school district conducts educational, psychological and social evaluations and determines that there are no cognitive/academic issues and finds him ineligible. What issues/concerns should the parent have with this determination?

14 Reevaluation Reevaluation: Triennial Parental written request
Child’s educational or related services needs warrant Required prior to finding child no longer eligible (declassified) unless eligibility change is based on aging out or graduation More than one reevaluation cannot take place in a year unless parent and district agree. Can only be waived if parents and district agree. Parents should not waive triennial reevaluation. (limited times may be appropriate, a psychological eval for significantly impaired child or teenager not on board, etc) Process similar to initial evaluation process: If district proposes no new testing/assessments, parent must receive written notice. Notice must advise parent of right to seek additional testing/assessments. Must be done if parent requests. Parental consent required-must be completed within 60 days of parental consent or end of triennial period (whichever is sooner)

15 Independent Evaluation
Parent has right to seek Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) if s/he disagrees with district’s evaluation District must provide at its own expense unless it seeks and prevails at Due Process, demonstrating that its evaluation is “appropriate”

16 Independent Evaluations (cont’d)
Parental written request District has 10 days to decide and respond whether it will do its own first If district decides not to do its own evaluation, must provide IEE at district expense unless Due Process sought within 20 days Must provide parent with list of qualified evaluators and evaluation requirements Parent selects evaluator, not district District may choose to do own first if their evaluation is older (not technically provided for but have seen) or if they haven’t done specific type (e.g. FBA). If district chooses to evaluate, must be completed within 45 days of request. If still in disagreement or district does not complete within 45 days, parent can request IEE. Parent should request any and all evaluations they seek at same time. While district can’t select evaluator, they can set some reasonable parameters on qualifications/geography/cost but can’t be different for rules they use for their own evaluators. Parents can also obtain their own evaluations at their expense, evaluations may be covered through health insurance and parents may choose this option for a variety of reasons, another opinion, absolute control over whether district contemplates evaluations, etc.

17 Eligibility IEP meeting convened to determine eligibility
Copy of any reports and relied upon documentation/ information to be given to parents at least 10 days before meeting Student eligible if: Student has one or more disabilities; and The disability adversely affects the student’s educational performance; and The student is in need of special education and related services Parental consent required for initial IEP and implementation of services District cannot seek Due Process to compel classification Exception when child transfers prior to completion of evaluation and eligibility or parent refuses to make child available for evaluation. Meetings of the IEP team should consist of parent, child if appropriate, case manager, teacher knowledgeable about student or at least district’s programs, at least one CST who can interpret evaluations, district representative, any other individual at district or parent discretion. Possible invited people to meeting family member/friends, CASA worker, DYFS caseworker, foster parent, etc. Eligibility determination within 60 days of consent to evaluation. Exception when child transfers prior to completion of evaluation and eligibility or parent refuses to make child available for evaluation. District cannot require parents to medicate child as condition of being evaluated, attending school, or receiving special education.

18 Special Education Classifications
Auditorily Impaired (AI) Autistic (ASD) Cognitively Impaired Communication Impaired (CI) Emotionally Disturbed (ED) Multiply Disabled (MD) Deaf/Blindness Orthopedically Impaired Other Health Impaired (OHI) Preschool Child with a Disability (PSD) Social Maladjustment Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Visually Impaired N.J.A.C. 6A: Eligibility for Speech Language Services

19 Individualized Education Program
Eligible->Classification->IEP IEP Written plan that sets out child’s special education program and related services Developed collaboratively at IEP meeting with IEP team Annually reviewed/updated/modified IEP lasts for one year period IEP can be changed more frequently as needed IEP meeting must be held within 30 days of eligibility determination. IEP should be implemented soon after-will go into effect within 15 days unless stay put invoked. Typically what happens is that eligibility meeting and IEP meeting all in one and district has “draft” IEP already done.

20 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
What is in an IEP? Current levels of academic achievement and functional performance Measurable annual goals (academic and functional) with benchmarks and short-term objectives How progress will be measured Accommodations, modifications, specific programs and related services Assistive technology devices Explanation of extent child will participate/not participate in general ed. classes, extracurricular and non-academic activities Anything and everything that is to be provided should be written into IEP specifically, legally enforceable contract/enforceability. Nothing should be cookie cutter, for example district should not tell parent they provide x services for child with ASD across the board, they must specifically design program/services for that individual child’s needs. Assistive Technology Devices are things that will help child increase, maintain or improve ability to function-such as glasses, wheelchairs, comp. programs, etc.

21 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
Extended School Year (ESY) Extension of services to help children maintain progress/achievement made during school year when school is not in session, such as summer recess and school breaks Must be considered for all-but all may not receive. District cannot limit ESY services to particular categories of disability or limit the type, amount, or duration of services Individual determination made at IEP meeting and discussed at annual review ESY not necessarily in classroom or school setting, could be in a variety of alternative locations When interruption of educational programming causes student performance to revert to a lower level of functioning and recoupment cannot be expected in a reasonable length of time. Don’t have to wait to regress to establish. No single criteria: Review of class work, tests, report cards, homework, progress reports, parent observation. Must consider all relevant factors, including: degree of impairment, degree of regression, recovery time from regression, child’s rate of progress and others

22 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
Transition Starting at age 14 (or younger if appropriate): Statement of strengths, interests, and preferences Identification of course of study, related strategies and/or activities consistent with above and intended to assist in developing or attaining postsecondary goals related to training, education, employment, and independent living Description of need for consultation with other agencies that provide services such as DVRS, DDD, and DOL Statement, as appropriate, of interagency linkages and responsibilities Discuss transition requirements from DYFS side and interplay. SPED transition plan should include consideration of the DYFS transition plan. DYFS transition plan is when child is 15, or within 6 months of a child 15 or older coming into care, DYFS should invite appropriate school staff to transition meeting (i.e. SPED case manager, counselor). DYFS transition plan based on child’s strengths and interests-including educational goals including postsecondary planning. DYFS should work with schools to monitor implementation of the transition plan. DYFS should provide financial supports (as available) for post secondary opportunities, including housing, food and other daily living expenses, including time during breaks. DYFS should make prompt referral for interested students to Foster and Adoptive Family Services for advice on NJ Scholars Program and NJ’s tuition fee waiver program, information on scholarships/grants/financial aid and assistance in completing financial aid applications.

23 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
Transition (cont’d) Starting at age 16 (or younger if appropriate): Statement of above described elements Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based on age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and independent living Transition services (based on child’s needs and in consideration of strengths, preferences and interests), including course of study needed to help child meet goals Services should be designed to improve academic and functional achievement of child to facilitate movement from school to post-school activities. Include: Instruction,Related Services,Community ExperiencesDevelopment of employment and other post-school adult living objectives. As appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation Post-school activities could include: Postsecondary education; Vocational education; Integrated/Supported employment; Continuing and adult education; Adult services; Independent living; Community participation.

24 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
Who is on the IEP team? Parent(s); At least one special education teacher and one General Ed. teacher (if applicable); At least one CST member; Case Manager; District Representative; Student (if 18 or as appropriate); and Any person parent or district wants to attend who has knowledge or special expertise regarding the child If child is transition from Part C to Part B, Part C service coordinator at parent’s request may be at IEP meeting. If meeting is to determine/discuss transition services for teen, the student and representative of any agencies that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services should be invited to the meeting. Is attendance mandatory? If member of team’s area of curriculum or related services is not being modified/discussed, he or she may be excused from meeting in whole or part if: parent given notice of excusal request with notice of meeting and in sufficient time to consider the request; parent and district agree; and parent gives written consent. If member of team’s area of curriculum or related services is being modified/discussed, in addition to above requirements the member must provide written input with respect to the area of curriculum/related services

25 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
IEP meetings can be tape-recorded with advance notice IEP meetings should be scheduled for a time/date that is convenient for parent IEP meetings can be held by telephone or videoconference if there is mutual consent Districts are permitted to have meeting without parent if they can document that they were not able to secure parental participation

26 Individualized Education Program (cont’d)
IEPs can be amended without a meeting if: Parent makes written request for a change and district agrees; or District proposes written proposal to change IEP and within 15 days parent consents in writing Changes are to be incorporated into amended IEP or placed into an addendum to the IEP Parent to receive copy within 15 days of district’s receipt of parental consent

27 Least Restrictive Environment
Children receiving special education have the right to be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) To the extent appropriate, child is to be educated with non-special education peers Children with disabilities are to be afforded equal opportunity to participate in non-academic and extracurricular activities as their non-special education peers, and to maximum extent appropriate, with non-special education peers

28 Placement IEP developed prior to determination of placement
Placement is determined by CST and parent(s) Least Restrictive Environment Districts are required to have a full continuum of alternative placements to meet needs of students As close to home as possible Determined annually Must be able to implement IEP delineated program and services IEP may be appropriate, even if placement is not Placement is not a specific destination necessarily but rather requirements for program provided (i.e. pull out, self-contained, therapeutic out of district) Primary consideration given to placement in general education classroom with supplementary aids and services which includes (not exclusive list): Curricular/instructional modifications or specialized teaching strategies Assistive technology devices/services Aides/paraprofessionals Related services In-Class resource programs

29 Placements (cont’d) If child cannot remain in general education setting-other placement options include, also not exclusive: Pull-Out resource programs Self-Contained program (in-district) Out-of-district placements Self-Contained program in another school district Program in approved private school for the disabled County Special Services School Home Instruction List is illustrative of continuum of LRE. In almost all cases home instruction this should only be used short-term. Districts will have varying in-district programming available.

30 Transferring Students
Children already receiving special education and related services are entitled to a comparable program and services to those in their current IEP IEP meeting within 30 days of transfer into new school to determine whether to adopt prior IEP or develop new one

31 Related Services Children receiving special education are also entitled to receive related services Related services are any services that will help child benefit from his/her educational program Examples include: Transportation Speech/Occupational/Physical Therapy Personal Aide Counseling Recreation Social Skills Others

32 Hypothetical Daniel is 16 and has Down Syndrome. He has significant cognitive impairment. Recently his parent has noticed changes in his behavior. Daniel’s parent believes that his behaviors would improve if he spent more time with his non-disabled peers. His parent has been told that a more inclusive placement is not appropriate and the school has expressed safety concerns of other students due to recent sexually inappropriate behaviors.

33 Transfer of Rights At 18, rights transfer to child (“adult” student) unless parent has obtained legal guardianship At least 3 years before age 18, IEP must contain statement that parent and child have been informed of transfer of rights at 18; Written notice of transfer; District/child may invite parent to meetings. Notice must still be provided to both parent and “adult” student “Adult” student: Must consent to eval/reevaluation May request Due Process/Mediation May authorize parent to request Due Process/Mediation and make educational decisions on their behalf

34 Special Education – Red Flags
Failure to Evaluate Failure to Classify Failure to Annually Review IEP/Reevaluation Failure to Implement IEP Failure to Provide Notice Failure to Respond to Parental Requests Failure to Address Behavioral Issues/Disciplinary Action Related Services/Extended School Year Based on District Availability or Disability Type, Not Child’s Needs Summer Recess ≠ Evaluation Delays Parent does not know that their child might be eligible to receive special education. Parent has “asked” district for their child to be evaluated and been told there is a waiting list-or just ignored. Parent has requested for school to do something in regard to child’s education (i.e. change services, address issues that child is having at school, etc.) and school has either failed to respond or responded non-favorably. Parent told by school that the district does not provide a specific service. Parent does not think that classification is correct. Parent does not agree with school’s evaluations. Parent has requested an “independent evaluation” but school has not provided one. School has made a change to eligibility/classification/placement/IEP/services without providing notice and holding an IEP meeting. School is seeking to make a change to eligibility/classification/placement/IEP/services that parent does not agree with. Concerns about appropriateness of classification/placement/services/other related issues. School failing to provide parent with child’s school records. Discipline. Changes in behavior/health. Changes in academic performance. General problems with district.

35 Early Intervention Target population: Infants/toddlers ages 0-3 and their families Responsible agency: N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Four Regional EI Collaboratives (REICs) coordinate NJEIS at local level

36 Early Intervention – Child Find
State must ensure EI services are available to all eligible infants and toddlers and their families: Child Find Locate, identify and evaluate all eligible children Facilitate referral process Public Awareness Campaign Disseminate information about the EI program Coordinate child find efforts with primary referral sources

37 Early Intervention - Referral
Who may refer a child to the EIS? Anyone Primary referral sources – doctors, DYFS, parent or foster parent Consent of parent is not necessary for referral (i.e. making the call) Written consent of parent, or person acting in place of parent, is necessary to conduct multi-disciplinary evaluation

38 Early Intervention - Mandatory Referral
State must refer ALL children under age 3 involved in substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to early intervention services OR identified as affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms due to prenatal drug exposure

39 Early Intervention – Referral Defined
Each child referred to the N.J. EIS is entitled to have an evaluation and assessment conducted within 45 days of the date of referral [provided that consent of parent, or person acting in place thereof, is obtained] Children may be screened IN to the program but may NOT be screened OUT To refer a child to the EIS: Call When making referral, must provide: Name and age of child Address Primary concerns, including how you know child & reason you think child may need EI services REICs are responsible for handling the referral and evaluation process

40 Early Intervention - Evaluation
Free, multi-disciplinary evaluation Within 45 days of referral In native language or other preferred mode of communication Multi-disciplinary evaluation includes examination of: Medical history Physical development Cognitive skills Communication skills Social / emotional development Adaptive skills The evaluation is an information gathering process. Family members and qualified professionals work together to identify and classify developmental delays and to discuss the types of services that may be helpful to the child and her family. Multidisciplinary evaluation means involvement of 2 or more disciplines or professions. Team conducts multidisciplinary assessment of unique strengths and needs of infant or toddler and identification of services appropriate to meet such needs; parents/family are integral member of team Evaluation must be conducted by personnel trained to use appropriate methods and procedures, be based on informed clinical opinion and include review of pertinent medical and health records and evaluation of child’s level of functioning in each of 5 developmental areas All tests and evaluation materials must be administered in native language of parents or other mode of communication unless clearly not feasible to do so, and must not be racially or culturally discriminatory on selection or administration of evaluations

41 Early Intervention - Eligibility
Child under 3 years old and has: 33% delay in one developmental area (or two standard deviations below the mean), or 25% delay in two or more developmental areas (or 1.5 standard deviations below the mean), or Diagnosed by physician or psychologist as having physical or mental condition with high probability of resulting in developmental delay (presumptive eligibility) Developmental areas include: Physical - Communication Cognitive - Social/emotional Adaptive Eligibility is determined by informed clinical opinion, parent report and standardized assessments or criterion-referenced measures.

42 Early Intervention - Service Coordination
After a determination of eligibility, EIS appoints a Service Coordinator as soon as possible to: Serve as family’s single point of contact with EIS Coordinate / monitor service provision Facilitate development, review and evaluation of Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) Help family identify available service providers Inform family of rights and availability of advocacy services All service coordination services are free of charge

43 Early Intervention -IFSP
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) Written plan Contract between family and State for provision of EI services Tailored to meet unique needs of eligible child and family Needs driven, not diagnosis driven Designed for child to obtain meaningful developmental benefit

44 Early Intervention – IFSP Components
Child’s current functioning Family’s concerns Needs and resources of child and family All services child/family need (initiation, method, frequency and duration) Identify natural environment “Natural Environment” is home or other setting in which children without disabilities participate Expected outcomes 6-month reviews and annual re-evaluation Transition plan

45 Early Intervention - Services
Physical Therapy Psychological Services Service Coordination Social Work Services Special Instruction Speech/Language Pathology Transportation Svc. Vision Services Assessment Assistive Technology Audiology Services Family Counseling / Training Health Services Medical Services Nursing Services Nutrition Services Occupational Therapy

46 Early Intervention - Transition
With family approval, transition conference convened no fewer than 90 days and no greater than 9 months before child’s third birthday If child not eligible for preschool or other services, create transition plan for exit from program Conference attendees include family, lead agency (DHSS) and local school district NOTE: Transition meeting must occur even if local school district refuses to attend

47 Early Intervention - Payment
Evaluations, assessments, service coordination, IFSP development & review – Free If below 350% F.P.L. - Free Medicaid Sliding fee scale based on family income, size and number of service hours EI system as Payor of Last Resort

48 Early Intervention – Red Flags
Failure to Identify Eligible Children Failure to implement CAPTA and IDEA mandatory referrals Failure to Obtain Appropriate Consent Use of “Screening” Mechanisms – Refusal to Evaluate Waiting Lists Evaluations Services IFSP based on Service/Program Availability, Not Child’s Needs Qualifications of Service Providers Natural environment ≠ home automatically

49 Cross-Systems Educational Advocacy
School stability Registration / Enrollment Attendance Gaps Information Sharing Student Records Completeness Credit Transfer Partial and Full Credit for completed coursework Special Education Defining the “IDEA Parent” Evaluations Services Inter-Agency Coordination Student Engagement Transition Post Secondary Education Mention but not discuss school stability

50 Getting Through the Front Door
Common roadblocks: Registration Attendance School Records “District of Residence” Kept in 2 slides on DOR that may or may not discuss depending on time

51 The Case of Marisol Marisol, age 10, lived with her mother in Trenton until one month ago when she was removed due to allegations of abuse. She was placed with a non-relative resource parent in Hamilton and it was found in her best interest to change school districts. How does Marisol register for school?

52 Registration for School
Required Documents to Register Child in Out-of-Home Placement: Resource Parent ID Letter (or Agency Placement Letter) and Resource Parent Proof of Residence

53 Timeline for Registration
School-age children should be registered within 72 hours of out-of-home placement Timeline emerged from one of the prongs of the DYFS litigation settlement – if district fights this, call the county superintendent to resolve issue.

54 Admission into School Immunization Records
Required Documents for Attendance: Immunization Records Certified copy of child’s birth certificate or other proof of identity within 30 days of enrollment NOTE: non-production of birth certificate cannot be sole reason for denial of admission *School records recommended, NOT required for attendance at school School districts may not delay or deny attendance due to non-receipt of child’s medical information (other than immunization records) or child’s educational records. See NJAC 6A: and NJSA 18A:

55 DYFS Responsibilities for Registration & Attendance
DYFS must: Ensure all children in out-of-home placements enrolled in school Provide updated health record, incl. immunization record, to resource parent/caregiver agency Inform biological /adoptive parents of right to be involved in child’s education

56 Responsibilities – Resource Parents and Caregiver Agencies
Resource parent/caregiver agency must: Register child Ensure child attends regularly Cooperate with DYFS to ensure child receives educational program Ensure child ages 3-5 (but not in K) enrolled in early childhood ed. program Ensure preschool age child in environment to stimulate proper development NJAC 10:122C-6.3

57 Responsibilities – School Districts
School districts must NOT require any more documentation than provided by law for child in out-of-home placement to register in and attend school

58 Registration and Attendance – Common Obstacles
Refusal to register child w/o birth cert. Refusal to register child w/o immunization records Require custody or guardianship order for registration Require SSN or immigration status for registration or attendance Require school records for registration or attendance Require IEP for registration or attendance Require reevaluation of student prior to attendance

59 Registration and Attendance – Role of Advocates
If advocate involved at this early stage: Ensure resource parent/caregiver agency has needed paperwork DYFS as information/records source Law Guardian can request Court Order requiring DYFS to obtain/provide information Educate client, DYFS, law guardian and others on “warning bells” Paper trail

60 The Case of Marisol Marisol, a classified student, transfers from the New Brunswick school district to the Trenton school district, where her resource parent lives. Marisol’s resource parent is told she cannot be registered in school until she undergoes a full child study team reevaluation, despite the fact that Trenton has all of her school records. As a result, she has been sitting at home. The resource parent tells DYFS to move Marisol because she cannot continue to miss work to watch her.

61 School Records Mandated School Records include: Student indentifying information, grades, health records, attendance records, standardized assessments, special education records

62 Responsibilities for School Records – School Districts
Where child transfers between districts: School district into which child is transferring must request child’s school records within two weeks of child enrolling in district Former school district must forward records (incl. disciplinary records) to new school district within 10 days of receiving request If the former district does not receive records request within two weeks of child transferring out of district, the former district must use “every available means” to identify the new district and send records

63 Responsibilities – School Districts cont.
Written consent of parent not required as condition of transfer Written notice to parent of school records transfer is required

64 Responsibilities - DYFS
DYFS must compile educational records for each school-aged child entering out-of-home placement DYFS must provide resource parents with child’s educational records at time of out-of-home placement and update records upon any placement transfers

65 School Records and Information Sharing – Disclosure by School Districts
Governed by FERPA – Records released with consent of parent or adult student School districts must provide DCF with access to a child’s school records within 10 days of written request School records may be withheld from child’s parent only if Court Order revokes right to access; only portion of record designated by Order may be withheld

66 Special Education Records
If child transferring between districts has IEP: New district CST must conduct immediate review of evaluation information and IEP and Without delay provide comparable program until previous IEP adopted or new IEP implemented Timeline – 30 days for in-state and out-of-state transfers Timelines

67 Responsibilities - School District
To educate the child in comparable program (if no school records, duty to educate child only) while awaiting records, conducting assessments and making any changes to IEP

68 Educating Child v. Paying for Child’s Education
District in which a child resides is responsible for educating the child “District of Residence” (DoR) is responsible for paying for child’s educational services and transportation DoR ≠ District in which child resides automatically See NJSA 30:4C-26(c) District where child resides is District where child is placed by DYFS DOR is term of art and not automatically equal where child currently resides

69 Determining DoR after 9/13/10
If child placed in resource home or residential facility on or after 9/13/10, DoR is the present district of parent with whom child lived prior to placement into foster care State assumes fiscal responsibility for a child in out-of-home care if: DoR cannot be determined or DoR of parent is out-of-state

70 Who is Marisol’s educational decision-maker?
If Marisol is a regular education student: DYFS allocates to resource parent authority to make routine educational decisions If Marisol is eligible for special education: Look to federal and state special education laws and regulations defining “parent”

71 Who is the IDEA “Parent” for Sped and EI?
Birth or adoptive parent / legal guardian Relative caregiver with whom child is living (person in parental relationship) Foster /Resource parent Surrogate parent Person appointed by the Court to act as “parent” or to make educational decisions NOTE: There is no automatic change in a parent’s right to make educational decisions when a child enters out- of-home care placement/foster care Applies to sped and EI DYFS case manger may NOT serve as “parent” for special education and early intervention purposes

72 What is the “Parent” Hierarchy
Biological or adoptive parent who is “attempting to act as the parent” is presumed to be the parent unless s/he no longer has legal authority to make educational decisions BUT, if court order identifies specific person to be the “parent” or to make educational decisions for a child, then such person is the “parent” for educational purposes

73 When is a Surrogate Parent Needed?
No parent/guardian can be identified Whereabouts of the parent or guardian are unknown after reasonable efforts to locate Parental rights have been terminated Student is an unaccompanied youth Rights of the parent/guardian to make educational decisions have been removed by the Court Foster parent unwilling to act as “parent”

74 Why does identifying the “parent” matter?
Children have no voice – no standing Parent is a member of IFSP/IEP Team and consents to the following: Evaluations Initial IFSPs/IEPs Release of records Parent can request independent evaluations Parent can file for mediation / due process

75 Who Will Stand Up for Marisol?
How can a child advocate help? Is there an IDEA Parent? If not, who fills this role? Is there an order you want the judge to enter? Is the judge aware of the child’s educational/developmental needs? Is DYFS? Are the child’s school records in the child welfare file? Do you need a court order to obtain them? Has the child changed school districts? If yes, have school records transferred? Are the child’s evaluations and/or services continuing despite the move?

76 Who Will Stand Up for Marisol?
How can the judge help? Ensure there is an IDEA “Parent” for each child. If necessary, the judge can appoint individual to act as the “parent” and make educational decisions for the child Ensure that the child’s school records are in the child welfare file and are updated periodically. Inquire about the child’s educational progress/needs each time the case is reviewed. Use subpoena powers where appropriate and necessary to hold school districts responsible Delineate responsibility for follow-up

77 Advocating Across Systems
Evaluations, services, programs, placements, and transition planning/services for Early Intervention and Special Education available through school districts and DYFS

78 Evaluations by School Districts
Typical: Psychological Educational Social History Speech and Language Functional Behavioral Less typical, but still common: Psychiatric, Neurological, Neuropsychological Occupational Therapy Physical Therapy

79 Evaluations by DYFS At DYFS’s initiative or by Court Order Typical:
Psychological Psychiatric Other Medical At age 14, Basic Life Skills and Ansell-Casey strengths & needs Less Typical, but still common: Speech and Language Neurological Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy

80 Services from School District versus DYFS
Services from district determined at IEP meeting and set forth in IEP DYFS duty to provide services to child to ensure well-being and permanency

81 Typical Services from DYFS
Medical Care (N.J.A.C 10:122D-2.5) Mental health services (individual, group and family therapy, medication monitoring) (N.J.A.C 10:122D-2.5) Tutoring Behavioral Health Assistant (N.J.A.C 10:122D-2.5) Mentor Recreational activities (i.e., dance, martial arts, music lessons) Summer Camp SERVICES ARE NOT DEFINED – MUST SHOW CONNECTION TO CHILD’S WELL-BEING AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS (can be S/L, O/T, P/T). (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.8) Compare to services discussed by Rachel

82 Typical Transition Services by School Districts
In addition to basic instruction and relates services: Postsecondary education Vocational education Integrated employment (including supported employment) Continuing and adult education Independent living skills training Other community experiences Daily living skills N.J.A.C 6A:14-3.7(e)12i(1).

83 DYFS’ Obligation to Older Youth
DCF must provide services to youth, ages 18 to 21, if: The youth was receiving services from DCF on or after 16th birthday Youth has not refused services or requested services be terminated Services are in youth’s best interest and would assist youth in becoming independent and productive adult.

84 Questions to Ask re Evaluations & Services
Does the child need additional evaluations or services? Where can the evaluations or services be obtained? Different purposes of District and DYFS evaluations/services Does the child need an independent evaluation(s)? Timing District’s duty to “consider” findings What are the limitations on sharing/using results across systems? Confidentiality and need for redaction Educational benefit versus other benefit Must redact evals/progress reports where nec.

85 Programs/Placement DYFS placement can influence school placement, and school placement can drive DYFS placement - neither should dictate the other. Residential DYFS placements can lead to children going to school on premises, though not always appropriate. (See N.J.A.C. 10: (f)). School placements can lead to children living on site where school is (even if do not need a residential home placement) out of convenience.

86 Questions to Ask re Programs & Placements
What type of program/placement does the child need? For educational purposes? For other purposes? If child placed in residential program or group home by DYFS, must the child attend the affiliated school? When should a child in out-of-home placement be required to change schools?

87 Challenges of Cross-Systems Advocacy
Identifying parent/client Holding on to parent/client despite placement moves Understanding and assessing duties, if any, to non-client parties Observing rules of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege Knowing when to turn on and off the information flow Familiarizing oneself with all the players and procedures Understanding jurisdictional limitations

88 Role of CASA in Educational Advocacy
CASA programs statewide will be providing basic educational advocacy training to enable CASA volunteers to help ensure that children’s educational needs are being met. By January 2012 CASA volunteer reports statewide will include information on children’s educational needs. Some CASA programs already provide this training – in those vicinages (Essex, Mercer, Camden, Passaic, and Bergen) volunteers already monitor children’s educational needs. CASA programs in Essex, Mercer, and Camden Counties have trained a small group of their volunteers to act as Limited Guardians for Educational Purposes or Education Surrogates, thereby enabling those volunteers to act in place of the parent for education purposes.

89 Remember: We All Are FOR EDUCATION
“By all rights, education should be an easy sell because you never find anyone who is ‘against’ it. No advocacy groups clamor for its overthrow, no politicians or columnists protest its irrelevance. Unlike nuclear power, or abortion rights, or the graduated income tax, education has no enemies. The trouble, therefore, can only be with those who are ‘for’ it. In education, I’ve found, you can easily mistake the actions of those who are for it as being against it.” Joseph Fernandez, former Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools Joseph A. Fernandez with John Underwood, Tales Out of School 1 (Little, Brown 1993).

90 EDUCATION is one of the greatest predictors of future success

91 Presenters Rachel R. Elkin, Esq., Supervising Attorney
Education Representation Project Legal Services of New Jersey (732) , ext. 8348 Jennifer Rosen Valverde, Esq./MSW Clinical Professor of Law Special Education Clinic Rutgers University School of Law - Newark (973)


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