(2021, October 29) | Useful at the state and local levels of the Part C Early Intervention service system, early interventionists, and Parent Center staff and others who work with families of infants and toddlers with disabilities.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education has released an additional guidance in its Return to School Roadmap series–this one is called Return to School Roadmap: Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility. 

OSERS issued the guidance in response to requests from a diverse group of stakeholders asking that the Department issue new guidance interpreting requirements of Part C of IDEA  in light of the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and as more programs are returning to in-person services. This resource, organized in a question-and-answer format, highlights that, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), state lead agencies and their early intervention service providers are responsible for implementing a child find system that identifies, locates, and evaluates, as early as possible, all infants and toddlers with disabilities, birth to age 3, who may require early intervention services. Regardless of the pandemic, or the mode of intervention or instruction used in a state’s early intervention system, infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families are entitled to appropriate IDEA Part C services. It is also important to note that, in order to fully implement IDEA requirements, communications with limited English proficient parents must be made in their native language.

Access the online version of the Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility roadmap at:
https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/return-to-school-roadmap-child-find-referral-and-eligibility-oct-29-2021/

Access a PDF version of the same document, at:
https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/QA-on-Child-Find-10-29-2021.pdf

Equally valuable is OSERS’ simultaneous release of an 11-page companion guidance called Return to School Roadmap: Provision of Early Intervention Services. We’ve described that publication separately, but to save you the time of going to another abstract, you’ll find the guidance on providing early intervention services, at:
https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/return-to-school-roadmap-provision-of-early-intervention-services-oct-29-2021/

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The Questions Addressed in this Guidance on Child Find

For your convenient preview, we list the 4 questions addressed in Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility:

Q1: What is the responsibility of the State LA and its EIS providers if a referral was received, but the parent was not contacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Q2. What should the State LA and its EIS providers do if the parent declined to consent to an evaluation to determine their child’s eligibility or the parent consented to an evaluation and the child was determined eligible, but then the parent declined Part C services?

Q3. What is the responsibility of the State LA and its EIS providers if a referral was made and the parent provided consent to an evaluation, but the child’s evaluation was not conducted?

Q4. May the State LA and its EIS providers conduct a virtual (i.e., not in-person) screening or evaluation of the infant or toddler if a parent requests it instead of an in-person screening or evaluation?

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