The Birth to Three System has undertaken a recent review of their policies, procedures and practices specific to a number of cost saving measures proposed by their Birth to Three providers. Some of the proposed measures are specific to the transition of age-eligible toddlers with disabilities to their school district. The Birth to Three System administration has undertaken a careful and considerate review of the proposed measures and has provided written guidance to their providers in response.
The guidance provided by the Birth to Three System to their providers includes the following:
1. Convening of a Transition Conference
The obligation of convening a Transition Conference is the responsibility of the child’s service coordinator in the Birth to Three System. With parent consent, a representative of the school district will be invited to the Transition Conference. The IDEA Part C regulations require that meeting arrangements be made with, and written notice provided to, the family and other participants early enough before the meeting date to ensure that all will be able to attend (C.F.R. §303.342(d)(2)). The IDEA Part B requires a school district representative participate in the Transition Conference (20 U.S.C. 1412 Sec. 612(9)).
2. Location of a Transition Conference
The date, time and location of the Transition Conference is based upon the IDEA Part C requirement that the meeting be convened at a setting and at times that are convenient for the family (C.F.R. §303.342(d)(i)). There are no requirements in the Birth to Three System about where a Transition Conference should or must be held. Rather, the decision regarding the Transition Conference location is made by the child’s family. Meeting locations could include the home as well as a school facility.
3. Transition Activities Under IDEA Part C
The IDEA Part C identifies a number of required activities that would assist in supporting the transition of a child and family from the Birth to Three System. Included is discussions with, and the training of parents, regarding future placements and other matters related to the child’s transition; and ways to prepare the child for changes in service delivery, including steps to help the child adjust to, and function in a new setting (C.F.R. §303.344(h)(2)(i)-(ii)). To that end, the Birth to Three System identifies that consideration should be given to holding the Transition Conference at a school location as a way to introduce the child and family to the school facility, school personnel and the school community. This and other types of introductions to upcoming changes for the child and family can be planned next steps to assist the child and family in becoming acquainted with and establishing relationships with new service providers in their school district.
4. Providing Child Assessment Information for Transition
There is nothing in the IDEA Part C or in the Birth to Three procedures that require Birth to Three programs to provide child specific evaluation reports to the child’s school district. The Birth to Three System’s procedures do identify that programs “may”, upon the request of a school district, provide updated child information to support the child’s transition. The Birth to Three System requires that programs complete a curriculum-based assessment three (3) months after receipt of Birth to Three services, as part of the ongoing assessment of a child’s strengths and needs and prior to the child’s exit while enrolled in the Birth to Three System. Birth to Three programs can provide any updated curriculum-based assessment summaries or other child specific information that might be helpful to the child’s school district in understanding the strengths and needs of the child. The obligation for the initial evaluation to determine a child’s eligibility for special education belongs to the child’s school district under the IDEA Part B provisions (C.F.R. §300.301, §300.305, §300.306).
5. Participation at Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Meetings
Under the IDEA, Part B, the school district, at the request of the parent, must invite the child’s service coordinator or other representatives of the Birth to Three System to assist with the smooth transition of services (C.F.R. §300.321(f)). The Birth to Three System encourages their providers to attend the PPT meeting to assist in contributing to the determination of a child’s eligibility for special education. The family, with the support of the child’s service coordinator, can provide child specific information about a child’s strengths and needs and child progress made during receipt of early intervention which can contribute to the PPT discussion and decision-making.