USDOE confirms public schools’ continuing child find duties with its "Return to School Roadmap"
On August 24, 2021, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”) of the U.S. Department of Education issued its Return to School Roadmap: Child Find Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Schools are still required meet their child find obligations for students with disabilities. Child find is the obligation of the school to locate, identify and evaluate students with disabilities.
The Roadmap can be accessed at the following link: https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/rts-qa-child-find-part-b-08-24-2021.pdf
Some key takeaways from the Roadmap are that Public schools:
are still required to conduct child find activities even if your child is now homeschooled or in a private school;
can use regular IDEA funding as well as additional funding related to COVID-19 to meet their child find requirements. OSERS suggests “using these funds to address any backlog of initial evaluations not completed within the timeline or that were delayed due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic” including hiring additional special education and related services staff or outside vendors;
should consider ways to supplement child find activities due to the increase in virtual instruction and not rely solely on referrals from parents to determine if a student has a disability;
should conduct additional screenings of students and increase awareness of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic and social-emotional needs;
should consider whether symptoms of long COVID may warrant an evaluation for special education.
This continues to be a very challenging time, especially if you are concerned that your child may need special education. If you have questions about the evaluation process, please contact the Law Office of Richard J. Murphy, PLC for a free consultation.