PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS FOR EARLY INTERVENTION
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Understanding Parent Rights
Parents have rights, known as procedural safeguards, which apply to every aspect of the early intervention process, including evaluations, access to records, and Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team participation. In Iowa, parents are informed of their rights and provided a copy of the Early ACCESS Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents at least once per year.
Meaningful parental participation in all early intervention processes and decision making relies on effective and ongoing communication between parents and Early ACCESS staff. Early ACCESS teams must provide parents the opportunity to attend and participate in meetings where decisions regarding evaluation, educational placement, the provision of FAPE, and identification of their child is addressed.
Early ACCESS team must obtain written parental consent prior to various early intervention processes, including screenings, assessments, evaluations, initial services and exchanging/releasing information. AEAs have a duty to ensure a parent is fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is being sought.
Prior Written Notice
AEAs must ensure parents are provided written notice of all proposed and/or refused changes in the identification, evaluation, placement, and the implementation of early intervention services for a child and/or family. The notice explains the actions and the rationale for the action(s) that the pubic agency plans to implement to ensure a free, appropriate public education for the child.
AEAs are legally mandated to create and maintain records for children eligible to receive early intervention services. AEAs must meet specific requirements related to accessing, maintaining, and destroying early intervention records.
Options for Resolving Differences
At times, differences of opinion among team members may exist regarding evaluation, eligibility, placement, and the provision of FAPE. AEAs should make every attempt to resolve differences between individuals with differing opinions.
Accessing Public Insurance (Medicaid)
With parental consent, an AEA may use public insurance proceeds to pay for specific services as documented in a child’s IFSP.