EARLY INTERVENTION RECORDS
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Creating & Maintaining Early Intervention Records
AEAs are legally mandated to generate and maintain records for children and students eligible to receive early intervention and special education services. These records are required to ensure that children receive a free appropriate public education and to demonstrate compliance with federal and state special education laws. AEAs must meet specific requirements for accessing, maintaining, and destroying early intervention/special education records.
Defining Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires all public agencies to protect personally identifiable information (PII) of students and set clear guidelines for how and when any PII information may be shared.
“Personally identifiable information” is information that contains:
- The name of the child.
- The name of the child’s parent or other family members.
- The address of the child.
- A personal identifier such as social security number, student number, or biometric record (e.g., fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; handwriting).
- Other indirect identifiers, such as the child’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name.
- Other information that alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific child that would allow a reasonable person in the community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the child.
- Information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the child to whom the education record relates.
AEAs Must Maintain Confidentiality
An AEA must designate one official to assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages. Additionally, each AEA shall ensure training on maintaining child records in accordance with legal requirements to all personnel, including professional and support staff, who collect and/or use child records.
Types of Records and Key Terms
There are several different types of records which may be maintained by AEAs and staff members.
A “record” means any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.
“Education records” means those records that are:
- Directly related to a child; and
- Maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
Because Early ACCESS is legislated through IDEA, the records are considered educational records. Any information admitted to the record, including health information, becomes part of the educational record and is protected under FERPA.
Early Intervention/Special Education Records
Early Intervention records and Special education records comprise all information that is recorded in any way, is directly related to a child, is maintained by the AEA, and relates to the evaluation, identification or placement of an eligible individual or the provision of FAPE to an eligible individual.
Early Intervention and special education records do include progress monitoring data collected during an intervention carried out as a part of an evaluation and data collected in the course of IFSP/IEP progress monitoring.
Sole Possession Record
“Sole Possession Record” is a record that is kept in the sole possession of the maker, is used only as a personal memory aid, and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
On occasion, staff may be asked to supply their sole possession records to agencies or individuals. In most cases, they are not required to provide their sole possession records unless the record or personally identifiable information in the record has been shared.
Procedures Specific to Early Intervention Records
Parents may contact local AEAs to access their child’s record during normal business hours. Parents have the right to review and inspect records.
This includes the right to:
- a response from the AEA to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records,
- request that the AEA provide copies of the records if failure to do so would effectively prevent the parent from being able to inspect and review the records, and
- have a representative of the parent inspect and review the records
An agency may presume that the parent has the authority to inspect and review records relating to the parent’s child unless the agency has been advised that the parent does not have the authority under applicable state law governing such matters as guardianship, separation, and divorce.
The burden of proof is on the parent who asserts that the other parent does not have records rights to provide proof (i.e., the judicial decree) showing the court has removed the other parent’s access rights. Access includes participation in conferences, obtaining or making copies of records, and reviewing the total student record.
The AEA shall notify parents annually of their right to view the child’s records. The notice shall be given in a parent’s native language.
If any education record includes information on more than one child, the parent shall have the right to inspect and review only the information relating to their child or to be informed of that specific information.
A fee for copies of records may be charged but shall be waived if it would prevent the parent from exercising the right to inspect and review the records within 45 days of the request. An AEA shall not charge a fee to search for or to retrieve information.
Upon parent request, AEAs must provide parents of child receiving early intervention services a list of the types and locations of education records collected, maintained and used by the district or agency.
AEA Access to Child Records
FERPA requires that AEAs and public agencies use reasonable methods to ensure that agencies and AEA staff obtain access to only those education records in which they have legitimate educational interests.
FERPA regulations state:
“An educational agency or institution that does not use physical or technological access controls must ensure that its administrative policy for controlling access to education records is effective and that it remains in compliance with the legitimate educational interest requirement.”
The child’s official educational record (includes electronic and paper) is maintained by AEAs due to Regional Grantee responsibilities for Part C. If parts of the educational records are stored outside of the AEA office, a note is placed in the AEA file indicating where such records can be found. For records stored outside of the AEA office, AEAs must ensure that all documents are submitted to the official student record in a timely manner.
At a minimum, early intervention records include, but are not limited to:
- Authorizations for release of information
- Prior Written Notice
- Service Coordinator and Service Provider logs
- Assessment and screening protocols intermingled with or containing personally identifiable information
- Evaluation reports, supplementary reports and other information to determine eligibility and continued eligibility for Early ACCESS
- Electronic communication (e-mail, text messages, etc.).
- Assessment and screening protocols intermingled with or containing personally identifiable information
- Medical records
- Hand-written requests or letters from families, other treatment providers, etc.
A record is maintained until it is no longer relevant to providing early intervention services and no longer needed for audit or accountability purposes. At a minimum, a record must be maintained for five years after the activity for which early intervention or other funds were used.
AEAs are allowed to destroy personally identifiable information at the point it is no longer needed to provide educational services to the student or for audit purposes (e.g., Medicaid records). Per Iowa Administrative Rules, early intervention/special education records must be maintained for five years after all early intervention/special education services end.
When personally identifiable information is no longer needed, districts and AEAs may choose to destroy the records.
Notification of Destruction of Records
AEAs shall notify parents and age of majority students when special education records are no longer needed.
Parents and eligible students have the right to request that records be destroyed when no longer needed. For AEAs, this right applies to the period of time, if any, between the point in time that the AEA has communicated that records are no longer needed and the point in time when actual destruction would occur.
In the absence of a parent request to destroy the records, an AEA or district may maintain the records indefinitely.
AEAs will maintain only those records required as “permanent” after the point in time when parents and eligible students have been informed that the records are no longer needed.
The AEA’s permanent record must include:
- A child’s name
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Dates of AEA early intervention services/special education services(s)
- Grade or age level and date of final exit from special education service
Requesting Changes to Records
If the parent believes the information in the record is inaccurate, misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of the child, the parent may request the agency to amend the information.
The agency shall decide whether to amend the information in accordance with a request within a reasonable period of time following receipt of the request.
If the agency refuses to amend the records, it shall inform the parent of its refusal and advise the parent of their right to a hearing. The parent shall have a right to appeal the agency’s decision and shall have an administrative hearing at the agency level. A local hearing shall be conducted according to the procedures under and in accordance with AEA policy and administrative procedures.
If the agency determines, as a result of a hearing, that an amendment shall be made to the child’s records, the agency shall make the amendment and so inform the parent in writing.
If the parent’s request to amend the records is denied as a result of a hearing, the parent shall have the opportunity to place an explanatory statement in the child’s records commenting on the agency’s decision and setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the agency. The agency shall maintain the parent’s explanation as part of the records of the child as long as the record or contested portion is maintained by the agency. If the record of the child or the contested portion is disclosed by the agency to any party, the explanation shall also be disclosed to the party.