July 16, 2012
Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices of Education, Charter School Administrators, Principals, and Nonpublic School Directors:
ASSEMBLY BILL 114: PARENT SURVEY RESULTS
On June 30, 2011, Assembly Bill 114, Chapter 43, Statutes of 2011, was signed into law. Under AB 114, several sections of Chapter 26.5 of the California Government Code (GC) were amended or rendered inoperative, ending the state mandate on county mental health agencies to provide mental health services to students with disabilities. With the passage of AB 114, it is clear that local educational agencies (LEAs) are solely responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities receive special education and related services, including some services previously arranged for or provided by county mental health agencies. As LEAs arrange for the provision of related services the California Department of Education (CDE) has sought input from a variety of stakeholders.
An example of this input was the February 16, 2012, presentation made by the AB 114 Transition Work Group (TWG) participants representing families. A joint parent survey was administered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California, Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Family SOUP, and Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK). The survey was administered statewide through Survey Monkey and over 500 families responded (surveys were administered in both English and Spanish).
The survey included 19 questions spanning several critical issue areas for families and parents. These included:
The following is a summary of the survey findings provided during the presentation made on February 16, 2012.
Based on the responses received from families through the survey instrument, LEAs need to continue to follow the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) requirements related to the following areas:
Providing Related Services
Per CDE’s guidance letter from July 26, 2011:
As this transition unfolds, LEAs must ensure that students continue to receive all services delineated in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) without interruption and in compliance with all applicable federal timelines. The provision of any related service must continue until an IEP team determines that the student no longer requires the service. The IEP must then be amended with the consent of the parent, guardian, or other holder of the student’s educational rights (http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ac/ab114memo.asp).
The provision of special education and related services is discussed in California Education Code (EC) Section 56001, which states:
Changing Related Services on a Student’s Individualized Education Program
As stated above, the provision of any related service must continue until an IEP Team determines that the service is no longer needed and the IEP is amended with informed consent provided by the parent, or holder of educational rights. Changing services on an IEP requires documentation that the student’s needs have changed resulting in the need to adjust the related services provided. The process for taking this course of action is described in EC § 56500.4 which covers the requirements for a prior written notice to be provided to parents when the LEA proposes a change of placement or related services as documented in an IEP.
EC § 56400.4 includes:
Parents as Members of a Student’s Individualized Education Program Team
Pursuant to EC § 56341(b)(1); the IEP Team shall include one or both of the pupil’s parents. Given that they are members of the IEP Team, any information provided by the parents regarding the student’s anticipated needs and other relevant information should be considered by the IEP Team as decisions are made for the provision of special education and related services (EC 56341.1[d]).
Use of Public and Private Insurance
A CDE guidance document on this topic, dated September 13, 2011, states:
Some financial assistance in paying for certain health care-related services may be available from insurance sources (see also Education Code 56363.5). The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) implementing the IDEA includes guidelines outlining when school districts may access insurance:
These findings suggest that there may have been compliance issues with the provision of related services and use of private insurance to cover the cost of related services. The CDE will utilize its complaint system and ongoing compliance monitoring process, including the newly revamped educational benefit process, to ensure that LEAs are complying with special education requirements, including the areas touched on by the survey conducted by NAMI, DREDF, Family SOUP, and TASK.
If you have any general questions regarding this subject, please contact the Policy and Program Services unit of the Special Education Division by phone at 916-323-2409.
Original signed by Fred Balcom. Hard copy of the signed document is available by contacting the Special Education Division's Director's Office at 916-445-4602.
Fred Balcom, Director
Special Education Division