IDEA Part C


Uploaded by usedgov on 20.09.2011

Transcript:
bjbj Hi, I m Alexa Posny, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative
Services. I m here to talk with you about Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, otherwise known as IDEA. The Part C program provides early intervention
services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. We recognize that the
field has been waiting a very long time for the IDEA Part C early intervention regulations,
and I am excited to announce that the final regulations are scheduled to be published
in the Federal Register on Wednesday September 28, 2011. These regulations will help improve
the lives of our youngest children. President Barack Obama said: [U]nless we take action
unless we step up there are countless children who will never realize their full talent and
potential. I don t accept that future for them. s been 4 years since we ve received
comments from over 600 parties on the proposed Part C regulations! And believe me, we heard
you we took your comments very very seriously! Before I begin to talk about some of the changes
made to Part C, I d like to mention that in general, we have attempted to clarify many
complex issues and restructured the regulations in a way that families, early intervention
service providers and States can read, understand, and implement the changes. As I begin, I think
it s important to point out a few things that you will not be surprised to learn that we
regulated on long-standing policies and best practices from the field of early intervention:
First, We have specified that if a particular early intervention service cannot be provided
satisfactorily in a natural environment, a justification must be included on the individualized
family service plan (or IFSP), and must be based on the child s outcomes. We have incorporated
requirements that apply to Part C through Part B. That is, if a State is required under
State law to provide a free appropriate public education (or FAPE) for services to children
with disabilities under the age of three, the State must ensure that those services
that constitute FAPE are provided at no cost. We have also allowed the sharing of limited
data for child find purposes between the agencies responsible for administering Parts C and
B in order to help with the seamless transition of children with disabilities between these
programs. We have clarified that a lead agency must maintain a current listing of the names
and positions of agency employees who may have access to personally identifiable information.
Arne has said: First, we must invest in early childhood education. Too many children show
up for kindergarten already behind. Many never catch up. By focusing on improving outcomes
for infants and toddlers with disabilities we are investing in their futures. Arne and
I believe that we must focus on improving outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities
and their families. We know that by improving outcomes, the rates of development will increase,
and children may exit the Part C program before the age of three with the skills expected
for preschool and eventually kindergarten. The Walkabouts wrote a song that said Come
back now ... lay all your burdens down and with a little luck ... I ll lift your burdens
up. Along with our focus on improving child outcomes, this administration is committed
to reducing burden on States. When reading the Part C final regulations, you will see
that we have reduced burden in the areas of State application requirements, permitting
the use of screening, and clarifying the service coordinator s role just to mention a few.
Additionally, increasing State flexibility was important to us. In a number of areas,
we provide options to States. Dispute resolution, extending Part C services to children over
the age of three, and the use of records to establish eligibility, are just a few of the
areas where we have been able to make some changes. Now to talk more specifically about
the Part C regulations - Please know that it would be impossible to name all the key
changes, so I ll focus on changes in a few key areas including family engagement, child
find and eligibility, use of insurance, confidentiality, timelines, and the term multidisciplinary.
As I share with you some of the key changes, I ll also talk about some of the comments
we received and why we made the changes we did. 1.The first key changes are in the area
of Family Engagement: In response to the commenters request for clarification as to when the general
notice and confidentiality requirements apply, it was determined that the lead agency must
provide parents with an initial notice when a child is referred to Part C that informs
parents about their rights under the IDEA Part C confidentiality provisions and a summary
of the record maintenance, destruction, retention, and storage policies. Additionally, to clarify
the procedures a State lead agency must follow if it is determined that a child is not eligible
for Part C services we made the following change: If it is determined, after conducting
an evaluation, that a child is not an infant or toddler with a disability, the lead agency
must provide the parent with prior written notice including information about the parent
s right to dispute the eligibility determination through the IDEA Part C dispute resolution
mechanisms. Another change was made to ensure that no-cost protections regarding the right
to evaluations, assessments, and IFSP development, were comparable with the Part B requirements;
specifically, A participating agency must provide, at no cost to the parent, a copy
of each evaluation, assessment of the child, family assessment, and IFSP as soon as possible
after each IFSP meeting. We received several comments from State lead agencies expressing
concern with the proposed 20-day timeline between when a parent requests their child
s early intervention records and when that request would need to be honored. Commenters
particularly felt it was important for parents to have these records available in the event
there is a pending due process hearing (which must be resolved within a 30-day timeline).
In response, the final regulations stipulate that: If a parent requests to inspect and
review the early intervention records of his or her child, that request must be honored
in no more than 10 days after the parent makes the request. And, it s important that I point
out that the transition plan from Part C to Part B 619 is not a separate document this
section is part of the IFSP. The IFSP Team must determine the appropriate steps for the
child to exit the program and any transition services needed. The family is a member of
the IFSP Team, and therefore, must be included in the development of the transition plan.
2. The second key change is in the area of Child Find and Eligibility: States must make
the central directory of early intervention services accessible to the general public
(i.e., through the lead agency s Web site and other appropriate means). The information
must be accurate and up-to-date. And the early intervention services, professional and other
groups that provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities, and research and
demonstration projects being conducted in the State related to infants and toddlers
with disabilities, must be included. We did not make any changes from what was proposed.
Yet, I would like to point out that the phrase other appropriate means was originally included
because we recognized that needs vary from State to State and that each State is in the
best position to determine the additional, appropriate means that the lead agency will
use to make the directory accessible. Primary referral sources must refer a child to the
Part C program as soon as possible but in no case more than seven calendar days after
identification of potential eligibility. I ll talk more about this later when I discuss
timelines. We also know that some infants and toddlers with disabilities have already
gone through a series of screenings, evaluations and assessments, prior to the referral to
Part C. Therefore, States are now permitted to use those records to determine eligibility
for early intervention services. 3.The third key change is Use of Insurance: As you know
the current regulations do not clarify when or how public benefits or insurance or private
insurance may be used. And, this is the area in which the Department received the most
number of comments. Commenters raised concerns regarding parents no-cost protection rights
and confidentiality. The White House, the Secretary, and I all feel very strongly that
children s and parents no- cost protection rights and confidentiality provisions are
protected and, at the same time that resources are maximized in order to pay for services
under Part C of the IDEA. Our response: Regarding the use of public insurance and benefits to
pay for Part C services, we have added three new requirements that provide important protections
for parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities First, a State must obtain a parent s consent
prior to requiring a parent to enroll in a public benefits or insurance program and may
not require the parent to enroll in such a program in order to receive Part C services.
Second, if the use of public benefits or insurance imposes certain costs on the parent, then
parental consent must be obtained for its use. Third, if a State lead agency or early
intervention service (EIS) provider or program uses public benefits or insurance to pay for
Part C services, the State must provide written notice to parents of the applicable confidentiality
and no-cost protections. And, generally, parental consent must be obtained prior to accessing
a parent s private insurance unless the State has adopted specific statutory no-cost protections.
The fourth key change is in regard to parents and children s Confidentiality Rights: Lead
agencies, State educational agencies (or SEAs), and local educational agencies (LEAs) have
a clear responsibility to identify children potentially eligible for services under Part
B of IDEA, and to ensure a smooth transition from the State s Part C program to the Part
B program. As Andrew Carnegie once said: Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common
vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. Our common
goal and vision are to create the best future possible for our infants and toddlers with
disabilities. With that in mind: The Part B and Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act (also known as FERPA) confidentiality provisions are adopted to apply to Part C
with minor adjustments -- such that participating agencies that provide Part C services have
access to Part C records to provide services and must comply with confidentiality protections
once a child is referred to Part C. We have modified some provisions to reflect the urgency
of obtaining information quickly -given the shorter time period that children spend in
the Part C program compared to the Part B program. Additionally, the lead agency must,
without prior parental consent, provide the LEA for Part C toddlers, potentially eligible
for Part B services, the basic child find information that would otherwise be personally
identifiable information unless the State has elected to adopt an opt-out policy. However,
some commenters urged the Department to require a lead agency to obtain parental consent prior
to disclosing any information to an LEA or SEA - as this child find information, when
disclosed to a non-participating agency, is considered personally identifiable information.
Therefore, the State may adopt an opt-out policy that would provide parents an opportunity
to object to the disclosure of such information, and, if the parent objects within a specified
timeframe, disclosure of the information would be barred. We made these changes to balance
the confidentiality rights of parents against the need for State flexibility and the IDEA
mandate to identify all children in need of services at the earliest opportunity and to
ensure a seamless transition of children from the Part C program to the Part B program,
where possible. The fifth key change includes Four Major Timeline Provisions: Please know
that in each of these timelines, we balanced the importance of identifying children as
early as possible against the ability of States to implement what is feasible and reasonable,
without undue burden. First, Referral Timeline: Some commenters pointed out that the proposed
timeline (as soon as possible) could potentially introduce long delays into the Part C referral
process and that it may be difficult to enforce. The Department retained the language as soon
as possible but established a maximum timeline of seven days as a compromise to the suggestions
that ranged from three to ten business days. 45-day timeline: The Department retained the
45-day timeline from referral, not consent as proposed, to the initial IFSP meeting.
However, in order to address the concerns of the commenters, we have included limited
exceptions when the 45-day timeline will not apply. This helps States continue to ensure
timely evaluations and initial IFSP Team meetings without unduly burdening Part C programs.
It also recognizes that a child s illness or family emergency is outside of the State
s control. In those circumstances, the State must still hold the initial IFSP Team meeting
as soon as possible following the extenuating circumstances. Third timeline, the Initiation
of Early Intervention Services as Identified on the IFSP: The IFSP must include the projected
dates for the initiation of each early intervention service. Parental consent is required before
the provision of early intervention services. Those services must then be provided as soon
as possible after parental consent is obtained. Additionally, given that the Department did
not propose another timeline and did not receive comments regarding a specific timeline, the
as soon as possible language was retained. The language as soon as possible, recognizes
such various factors as the availability of service providers and the needs of the family.
Data obtained from the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report show that the vast majority
of States have adopted a de facto 30-day timeline for the initiation of services. And the fourth
timeline relates to Transition Timelines: In response to comments from parent groups
and LEAs regarding the timeline for transition to Part B services (which requires a referral
to Part B which would have to provide parents with Part B procedural safeguards and obtain
parental consent for evaluation), the Department decided not to move forward with the proposed
9 months. Commenters felt the proposed 9 months was far too early for the LEA notification
for children potentially eligible for Part B. Rather, 90 days made the most sense as
an outside timeline given the following IDEA Part B timelines: An individualized education
program (or IEP) must be developed and implemented by age three for a child exiting Part C and
eligible under Part B; Part B has a 60-day or other State-established timeline to evaluate
a child after parental consent is provided; and Part B has a 30-day timeline to implement
the IEP. The LEA notification timeline aligns with the transition conference timeline. A
transition conference must occur for children exiting Part C and potentially eligible for
Part B services, not later than at least 90 days, but not more than nine months, prior
to the toddler s third birthday And last, but not least, the use of the term Multidisciplinary:
Regarding the proposed definition of multidisciplinary, as it relates to the IFSP Team, we agreed
with the commenters concerns that one individual (even if that individual is qualified in more
than one discipline or profession) could not serve as the sole member of the IFSP Team.
We agreed that this was not best practice, and therefore, require that the IFSP Team
be comprised of the parent and two or more individuals from separate disciplines or professions
with one of these individuals being the service coordinator. As some say: There is no I in
team and to echo Ken Blanchard; none of us is as smart as all of us. Regarding the Multidisciplinary
evaluations - One individual who is qualified in more than one discipline or profession
may conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation and assessment. This is a change from current
regulations which require two or more individuals, but this has not changed from what was proposed
in the NPRM, which was intended to provide States with needed flexibility. let me say
that we have made key changes in the early intervention program to improve results for
young children with disabilities, to reduce burden where possible, and, to increase State
flexibility and options all the while ensuring State accountability for child find and provision
of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families!
Let me just end with one final thought -- -- in one of my favorite family circus cartoons,
as the dad sits reading the newspaper he says Sometime I worry about the future of this
country and-- as the mom gazes out the window at the children playing, reading and drawing,
she calmly states I don Well, to echo that thought I don t either Let s just remember
that Their minds are in our hands. We are planning a multi-faceted roll-out and technical
assistance strategy to help families understand, and States effectively implement the new requirements.
Over the next several months we will be doing webinars, technical assistance documents and
a full-day training. The full-day training will be on Nov 16th prior to the Division
of Early Childhood conference. The DEC conference will be held in the DC area at the Gaylord
Hotel at National Harbor. Information about registering for the training session is available
on the TADNET website. Thank you again for your time and patience. We look forward to
sharing more information on Part C over the next few months. PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT ph2Ar
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