Presentation on theme: "EARLY INTERVENTION AND"— Presentation transcript:
1 EARLY INTERVENTION AND SPECIAL EDUCATION,EARLY INTERVENTION ANDCROSS-SYSTEMSEDUCATIONAL ADVOCACYRachel Elkin, Esq Jennifer Rosen Valverde, Esq., MSWLegal Services of New Jersey Rutgers Special Education Clinic
2 Educational Advocacy – Benefits Maintain educational stabilityIncrease developmental and educational gains made by children with disabilitiesSurmount barriers to enrollment, attendance and information-sharingEnsure FAPE providedSpecial education and related servicesLeast Restrictive Environment for learningImprove educational outcomesImproved 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 careFor 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 EducationAll 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 servicesTeacher/School StaffChild 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 RequestInitial meeting convened within 20 calendar days of receipt of written request :Child Study TeamParent(s)General Education TeacherAt meeting determination is made whether evaluation is needed, and nature and scope of evaluationExcludes school holidays but not summer recessCST 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; andWhen 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 negatedDistrict permitted to seek Due ProcessParents can revoke consent for Special Education.Must be revoked in writing;District must provide parent with written notice; andDistrict 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 doneNotice must include:Determination of whether to evaluateScope and Nature of EvaluationRequest for Parental ConsentOnce parental consent is given, district has 90 days to conduct evaluation, determine eligibility, develop and implement child’s IEP.Other appropriate actionsIf 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; andStatement 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, andSources 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 InterventionsIntervention & Referral Services (I&RS)Services for students with learning, behavior, health or other difficultiesDistrict based§ 504General 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, hearingSPED/504: All SPED children are 504 eligible but not vice versa. Common examples can include epilepsy, severe allergies, diabetes, ADHD at timesWhat 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/tProcedural 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 ProcessInitial review of information district already has and taken from various sources such as:Classroom assessmentsTeacher observationParental input
9 Evaluation Process (cont’d) Initial review serves as basis to decide what other information is needed to determine:DisabilityEducational needsPresent level of academic achievementRelated developmental needsWhether child is in need of special education and related servicesAccommodations/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 professionalsAt least 2 members of CSTWhere appropriate, other specialistsVariety of evaluation/assessment toolsEvaluation/assessment tools: Administered in language and form most likely to yield accurate information unless clearly not feasible. Must beselected/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 programChild must be assessed in all suspected areas of disabilityMust identify and assess all of child’s needsParents entitled to receive copy of reports prior to IEP meeting to determine eligibility
12 Types of Evaluation/Assessments EducationalPsychologicalSocialPhysical TherapyOccupational TherapySpeechPsychiatricAudiologicalCentral Auditory ProcessingFunctional Behavioral AssessmentMedicalNeurologicalNeuro-DevelopmentalNeuro-PsychiatricAssistive TechnologyVocationalObligation for multi-disciplinary evaluation, if child needs district must provide even if this requires district to contract with third party.
13 HypotheticalChristopher 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 warrantRequired prior to finding child no longer eligible (declassified) unless eligibility change is based on aging out or graduationMore 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 evaluationDistrict 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 requestDistrict has 10 days to decide and respond whether it will do its own firstIf district decides not to do its own evaluation, must provide IEE at district expense unless Due Process sought within 20 daysMust provide parent with list of qualified evaluators and evaluation requirementsParent selects evaluator, not districtDistrict 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 meetingStudent eligible if:Student has one or more disabilities; andThe disability adversely affects the student’s educational performance; andThe student is in need of special education and related servicesParental consent required for initial IEP and implementation of servicesDistrict cannot seek Due Process to compel classificationException 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 ImpairedCommunication Impaired (CI)Emotionally Disturbed (ED)Multiply Disabled (MD)Deaf/BlindnessOrthopedically ImpairedOther Health Impaired (OHI)Preschool Child with a Disability (PSD)Social MaladjustmentSpecific Learning Disability (SLD)Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Visually ImpairedN.J.A.C. 6A: Eligibility for Speech Language Services
19 Individualized Education Program Eligible->Classification->IEPIEPWritten plan that sets out child’s special education program and related servicesDeveloped collaboratively at IEP meeting with IEP teamAnnually reviewed/updated/modifiedIEP lasts for one year periodIEP can be changed more frequently as neededIEP 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 performanceMeasurable annual goals (academic and functional) with benchmarks and short-term objectivesHow progress will be measuredAccommodations, modifications, specific programs and related servicesAssistive technology devicesExplanation of extent child will participate/not participate in general ed. classes, extracurricular and non-academic activitiesAnything 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 breaksMust 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 servicesIndividual determination made at IEP meeting and discussed at annual reviewESY not necessarily in classroom or school setting, could be in a variety of alternative locationsWhen 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) TransitionStarting at age 14 (or younger if appropriate):Statement of strengths, interests, and preferencesIdentification 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 livingDescription of need for consultation with other agencies that provide services such as DVRS, DDD, and DOLStatement, as appropriate, of interagency linkages and responsibilitiesDiscuss 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 elementsAppropriate measurable postsecondary goals based on age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and independent livingTransition services (based on child’s needs and in consideration of strengths, preferences and interests), including course of study needed to help child meet goalsServices 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 evaluationPost-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); andAny person parent or district wants to attend who has knowledge or special expertise regarding the childIf 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 noticeIEP meetings should be scheduled for a time/date that is convenient for parentIEP meetings can be held by telephone or videoconference if there is mutual consentDistricts 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; orDistrict proposes written proposal to change IEP and within 15 days parent consents in writingChanges are to be incorporated into amended IEP or placed into an addendum to the IEPParent 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 peersChildren 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 EnvironmentDistricts are required to have a full continuum of alternative placements to meet needs of studentsAs close to home as possibleDetermined annuallyMust be able to implement IEP delineated program and servicesIEP may be appropriate, even if placement is notPlacement 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 strategiesAssistive technology devices/servicesAides/paraprofessionalsRelated servicesIn-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 programsSelf-Contained program (in-district)Out-of-district placementsSelf-Contained program in another school districtProgram in approved private school for the disabledCounty Special Services SchoolHome InstructionList 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 IEPIEP meeting within 30 days of transfer into new school to determine whether to adopt prior IEP or develop new one
31 Related ServicesChildren receiving special education are also entitled to receive related servicesRelated services are any services that will help child benefit from his/her educational programExamples include:TransportationSpeech/Occupational/Physical TherapyPersonal AideCounselingRecreationSocial SkillsOthers
32 HypotheticalDaniel 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 RightsAt 18, rights transfer to child (“adult” student) unless parent has obtained legal guardianshipAt 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/reevaluationMay request Due Process/MediationMay authorize parent to request Due Process/Mediation and make educational decisions on their behalf
34 Special Education – Red Flags Failure to EvaluateFailure to ClassifyFailure to Annually Review IEP/ReevaluationFailure to Implement IEPFailure to Provide NoticeFailure to Respond to Parental RequestsFailure to Address Behavioral Issues/Disciplinary ActionRelated Services/Extended School Year Based on District Availability or Disability Type, Not Child’s NeedsSummer Recess ≠ Evaluation DelaysParent 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 InterventionTarget population: Infants/toddlers ages 0-3 and their familiesResponsible 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 FindLocate, identify and evaluate all eligible childrenFacilitate referral processPublic Awareness CampaignDisseminate information about the EI programCoordinate child find efforts with primary referral sources
37 Early Intervention - Referral Who may refer a child to the EIS?AnyonePrimary referral sources – doctors, DYFS, parent or foster parentConsent 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 3involved in substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to early intervention services ORidentified 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 OUTTo refer a child to the EIS:CallWhen making referral, must provide:Name and age of childAddressPrimary concerns, including how you know child & reason you think child may need EI servicesREICs are responsible for handling the referral and evaluation process
40 Early Intervention - Evaluation Free, multi-disciplinary evaluationWithin 45 days of referralIn native language or other preferred mode of communicationMulti-disciplinary evaluation includes examination of:Medical historyPhysical developmentCognitive skillsCommunication skillsSocial / emotional developmentAdaptive skillsThe 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 teamEvaluation 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 areasAll 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), or25% delay in two or more developmental areas (or 1.5 standard deviations below the mean), orDiagnosed by physician or psychologist as having physical or mental condition with high probability of resulting in developmental delay (presumptive eligibility)Developmental areas include:Physical - CommunicationCognitive - Social/emotionalAdaptiveEligibility 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 EISCoordinate / monitor service provisionFacilitate development, review and evaluation of Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs)Help family identify available service providersInform family of rights and availability of advocacy servicesAll service coordination services are free of charge
43 Early Intervention -IFSP Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)Written planContract between family and State for provision of EI servicesTailored to meet unique needs of eligible child and familyNeeds driven, not diagnosis drivenDesigned for child to obtain meaningful developmental benefit
44 Early Intervention – IFSP Components Child’s current functioningFamily’s concernsNeeds and resources of child and familyAll services child/family need (initiation, method, frequency and duration)Identify natural environment“Natural Environment” is home or other setting in which children without disabilities participateExpected outcomes6-month reviews and annual re-evaluationTransition plan
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 birthdayIf child not eligible for preschool or other services, create transition plan for exit from programConference attendees include family, lead agency (DHSS) and local school districtNOTE: Transition meeting must occur even if local school district refuses to attend
47 Early Intervention - Payment Evaluations, assessments, service coordination, IFSP development & review – FreeIf below 350% F.P.L. - FreeMedicaidSliding fee scale based on family income, size and number of service hoursEI system as Payor of Last Resort
48 Early Intervention – Red Flags Failure to Identify Eligible ChildrenFailure to implement CAPTA and IDEA mandatory referralsFailure to Obtain Appropriate ConsentUse of “Screening” Mechanisms – Refusal to EvaluateWaiting ListsEvaluationsServicesIFSP based on Service/Program Availability, Not Child’s NeedsQualifications of Service ProvidersNatural environment ≠ home automatically
49 Cross-Systems Educational Advocacy School stabilityRegistration / EnrollmentAttendance GapsInformation SharingStudent RecordsCompletenessCredit TransferPartial and Full Credit for completed courseworkSpecial EducationDefining the “IDEA Parent”EvaluationsServicesInter-Agency CoordinationStudent EngagementTransitionPost Secondary EducationMention but not discuss school stability
50 Getting Through the Front Door Common roadblocks:RegistrationAttendanceSchool Records“District of Residence”Kept in 2 slides on DOR that may or may not discuss depending on time
51 The Case of MarisolMarisol, 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 (orAgency Placement Letter) andResource Parent Proof ofResidence
53 Timeline for Registration School-age children should be registered within 72 hours of out-of-home placementTimeline 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 RecordsCertified copy of child’s birth certificate or other proof of identity within 30 days of enrollmentNOTE: non-production of birth certificate cannot be sole reason for denial of admission*School records recommended, NOT required for attendance at schoolSchool 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 schoolProvide updated health record, incl. immunization record, to resource parent/caregiver agencyInform 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 childEnsure child attends regularlyCooperate with DYFS to ensure child receives educational programEnsure child ages 3-5 (but not in K) enrolled in early childhood ed. programEnsure preschool age child in environment to stimulate proper developmentNJAC 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 recordsRequire custody or guardianship order for registrationRequire SSN or immigration status for registration or attendanceRequire school records for registration or attendanceRequire IEP for registration or attendanceRequire 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 paperworkDYFS as information/records sourceLaw Guardian can request Court Order requiring DYFS to obtain/provide informationEducate client, DYFS, law guardian and others on “warning bells”Paper trail
60 The Case of MarisolMarisol, 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 RecordsMandated 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 districtFormer school district must forward records (incl. disciplinary records) to new school district within 10 days of receiving requestIf 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 transferWritten 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 placementDYFS 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 studentSchool districts must provide DCF with access to a child’s school records within 10 days of written requestSchool 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 andWithout delay provide comparable program until previous IEP adopted or new IEP implementedTimeline – 30 days for in-state and out-of-state transfersTimelines
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 transportationDoR ≠ District in which child resides automaticallySee NJSA 30:4C-26(c)District where child resides is District where child is placed by DYFSDOR 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 careState assumes fiscal responsibility for a child in out-of-home care if:DoR cannot be determined orDoR 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 decisionsIf 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 guardianRelative caregiver with whom child is living (person in parental relationship)Foster /Resource parentSurrogate parentPerson appointed by the Court to act as “parent” or to make educational decisionsNOTE: There is no automatic change in a parent’s right to make educational decisions when a child enters out- of-home care placement/foster careApplies to sped and EIDYFS 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 decisionsBUT, 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 identifiedWhereabouts of the parent or guardian are unknown after reasonable efforts to locateParental rights have been terminatedStudent is an unaccompanied youthRights of the parent/guardian to make educational decisions have been removed by the CourtFoster parent unwilling to act as “parent”
74 Why does identifying the “parent” matter? Children have no voice – no standingParent is a member of IFSP/IEP Team and consents to the following:EvaluationsInitial IFSPs/IEPsRelease of recordsParent can request independent evaluationsParent 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 childEnsure 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 responsibleDelineate 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:PsychologicalEducationalSocial HistorySpeech and LanguageFunctional BehavioralLess typical, but still common:Psychiatric, Neurological, NeuropsychologicalOccupational TherapyPhysical Therapy
79 Evaluations by DYFS At DYFS’s initiative or by Court Order Typical: PsychologicalPsychiatricOther MedicalAt age 14, Basic Life Skills and Ansell-Casey strengths & needsLess Typical, but still common:Speech and LanguageNeurologicalOccupational Therapy, Physical Therapy
80 Services from School District versus DYFS Services from district determined at IEP meeting and set forth in IEPDYFS 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)TutoringBehavioral Health Assistant (N.J.A.C 10:122D-2.5)MentorRecreational activities (i.e., dance, martial arts, music lessons)Summer CampSERVICES 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 educationVocational educationIntegrated employment (including supported employment)Continuing and adult educationIndependent living skills trainingOther community experiencesDaily living skillsN.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 birthdayYouth has not refused services or requested services be terminatedServices 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/servicesDoes the child need an independent evaluation(s)?TimingDistrict’s duty to “consider” findingsWhat are the limitations on sharing/using results across systems?Confidentiality and need for redactionEducational benefit versus other benefitMust redact evals/progress reports where nec.
85 Programs/PlacementDYFS 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/clientHolding on to parent/client despite placement movesUnderstanding and assessing duties, if any, to non-client partiesObserving rules of confidentiality and attorney-client privilegeKnowing when to turn on and off the information flowFamiliarizing oneself with all the players and proceduresUnderstanding 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 ProjectLegal Services of New Jersey(732) , ext. 8348Jennifer Rosen Valverde, Esq./MSWClinical Professor of LawSpecial Education ClinicRutgers University School of Law - Newark(973)