School Issues and Special Education Advocacy presented by Cheryl Theis Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. Today ’ s Goal: Increasing Education Advocacy Competency for foster parents/Kincaregivers.
presented by Cheryl Theis
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
“Children in foster care confront significant obstacles along their educational journey... Much has been written about childhood suffering, family disruptions, and systemic obstacles that partly explain these compromised outcomes. According to the experts, filling the information gap is critical for turning around "the perfect storm of resulting school failure" and promoting school success”
(The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, May of 2010)
WHAT WE KNOW:
…WHAT WE KNOW:
Significant need to:
-enter school already behind peers
-be retained- leave school prematurely, or - be subject to expulsion if learning challenges manifest in behavior difficulties
*TIP: Put parent training on disability/special needs and how to access HELP into adoption, reunification/FM case plans!
*TIP: A 504 plan CAN be written for a preschooler who needs accomodations in childcare/preshool!
From: Foster Care Reentry and Placement Stability Outcomes: Understanding California’s Performance and Practices to Improve Outcomes, presented to The Leadership Symposia on Evidence-Based Practice in Human Services, January 30, 2009, San Diego, CA)
Provides for Specialized Education for Children with disabilities who require individualization of program, early intervention for those under 3.
California Specific Laws:
*If a child in your care/caseload is subjected to RESTRAINT or SECLUSION, CALL DREDF!
Part B for children ages 3 until the 22nd birthday (or diploma)—
Access Point: SCHOOL DISTRICT Special Education Office
PART C: Infants and Toddlers under Age 3
Early Intervention Services
Access Point: REGIONAL CENTERS/DDS Early Start Programs (WITH EXCEPTIONS).
PART C: Early Intervening Services
California Early Start:
Teams of service coordinators, healthcare providers, early intervention specialists, therapists, and parent resource specialists evaluate and assess an infant or toddler and provide appropriate early intervention services to children eligible for California's Early Intervention system.
IMPORTANT: IDEA 2004 specifies that ALL foster children under 3 be referred to Department of Developmental Services/Regional Centers! Screening “may” be appropriate, but should include review of all relevant information. Phone dismissals NOT sufficient. Parent, Physician, CWW can refer—but Ed Rights Holder must consent to service.
SPECIAL NOTE: Effective July 2009, eligibility for Early start is more restrictive, but children can still qualify for “prevention plan” services. See: www.dds.ca.gov/.../PreventionProgramPolicies_Procedures09.pdf
PART C: Getting Help
Local Regional Centers: The Early Start Central Directory of Early Intervention Resources is a comprehensive resource for parents, family members, service providers, and members of the public that provides information on the early intervention resources available in California by county. http://www.dds.ca.gov/EarlyStart/Home.cfm
Family Resource Center Network (FRCs):
Problems with Regional Center Decision? Call the Client’s Rights Advocate (CRA) http://www.dds.ca.gov/ConsumerCorner/Advocacy.cfm
*TIP: Any dependent turning 3, whether regional center client or not, with disability or suspected disability/delay should be referred to School District for assessment—see DREDF sample letter to request assessment. Eligibility also means access to preschool, services AT NO COST TO FAMILY.
-If behavior is an ongoing, serious concern, ask for a behavior assessment compliant with the Hughes Bill (Behavior can be shaped, modifed and changed using positive behavior support plans!)
-If child has mental health needs (does NOT have to be identified as Emotionally Disturbed—just have an IEP), ask for AB3632 referral to County Mental Health.
If not eligible for Special Education, ask if eligible for a 504 plan (removes barriers in general ed)
Use caregiver affidavits, court reports to make courts aware of what is happening on the education side!
We need everybody at the table, and every tool in our toolkit!
DOCUMENTATION RULE OF THUMB:“If it was never written, it was never said and will never be done.”
For a copy of today Care w/Disabilities’s PowerPoint presentation and links to additional resources, visit the DREDF website at http://www.dredf.org/special_education/trainings.shtml
A network of Parent Training & Information (PTI) Centers is available in every state across the country. PTI’s provide technical assistance and training to parents/guardians of children with disabilities, and professionals who serve these students and their families. Here is a list by region/state:
Contact DREDF at:
Toll Free 800.348.4232
Fax 510.841.8645 Email [email protected] Website www.dredf.org