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Nonpublic Agency Certification

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter

July 20, 2015

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:


On June 30, 2011, Assembly Bill (AB) 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, thereby 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 now 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, clarification has been requested concerning the circumstances under which related service providers must obtain certification as Nonpublic Agencies (NPAs) or Nonpublic Schools (NPSs).

Title 5, Section 3051(a)(3) of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) establishes that individuals and entities providing related services may be any one of the following:

A. Employees of the school district or county office of education

B. Employed under (NPA or NPS) contract pursuant to California Education Code (EC) sections 56365–56366

C. Employees, vendors, or contractors of the State Departments of Health Care Services or State Hospitals, or any designated local public health or mental health agency

In the following bullets, options A, B, and C explore whether NPA or NPS certification is required in each of the three scenarios:

  • Option A–Employees of a School District or County Office of Education

    LEAs may directly employ individuals to provide related services. LEAs must ensure that those individuals hold the appropriate license or credential for their assignments, but such individuals are not required to obtain NPA or NPS certification.
  • Option B–Nonpublic Schools or Nonpublic Agencies

    An LEA may contract directly with an entity or individual that is certified as an NPA or NPS to provide related services.
  • Option C–Employees, Vendors, or Contractors of the Department of Mental Health or Designated Local Public Mental Health Agencies

    An LEA may secure the provision of related services directly from a state or local public mental health agency through a provider that is a direct employee, contractor, or vendor of that agency. NPA or NPS certification is not required. Alternatively, an LEA may secure the provision of related services directly from a contractor or vendor of a state or local public mental health agency. NPA or NPS certification is not required. When conducting its monitoring process, the California Department of Education (CDE) will verify that the LEA has documentation that such contractors or vendors are contractors or vendors of a state or local public mental health agency in the current fiscal year. In addition, LEAs are responsible for ensuring and maintaining documentation that the entities providing related services are qualified pursuant to Sections 3051–3051.24 of Title 5 of the CCR.

Information on obtaining NPA or NPS Certification is available on the CDE NPS/A Certification Applications Web page at, or you may contact the Interagency Nonpublic Schools and Agencies Unit, Special Education Division, by phone at 916-327-0141 or by e-mail at

Relevant portions of Section 3051 through 3051.24 of Title 5, CCR, describing the staff qualification requirements for related services, are enclosed with this correspondence.

Please note that LEAs are not precluded from seeking a waiver, pursuant to Section 56366.2 of the EC, for any scenario that is not addressed by the content of this notice.

If you have any general questions regarding this subject, please contact the Special Education Division, Statewide Policy and Implementation Unit by email at, or the Nonpublic Schools and Agencies Unit by email at


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

Enclosure (DOC)

Last Reviewed: Monday, February 12, 2024

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