California law is quite ambitious and specific in its descriptions of transition services and state and local education agencies’ responsibilities to provide them.
The California Legislature has found and declared that improvements in special education have not resulted in paid employment or maximum integration of special education students into the community. The Legislature states that there is no formalized process that bridges the gap between school and post-school services and resources. It also declared that there is insufficient coordination between educators, adult services providers, employers, and families which would lead to paid employment and social independence. Because of this, the majority of options available to adults with disabilities foster dependence rather than independence. The Legislature’s goal for transition services is a planned movement from school to adult life that provides opportunities which maximize economic and social independence in the least restrictive environment. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56460.]
State law requires that the superintendent establish capacity to provide transition services to a broad range of students with exceptional needs such as employment and academic training, strategic planning, interagency coordination, and parent training. [Cal.Ed. Code Sec. 56461.]
Transition services include but not limited to:
- In-service training programs, resource materials, and handbooks that identify the following:
- The definition of “transition,” including the major components of an effective school-based transitional program;
- Relevant laws and regulations;
- The roles of other agencies in the transition process including, but not limited to, the scope of their services, eligibility criteria, and funding;
- The components of effective transition planning;
- The role of families in the individualized transition process;
- Resources and model programs currently available in this state.
- Development of the role and responsibilities of special education in the transition process, including the following:
- The provision of work skills training, including those skills that are necessary in order to exhibit competence on the job;
- The provision of multiple employment options and facilitating job or career choice by providing a variety of vocational experiences;
- The collection and analysis of data on what happens to students once they leave the school system and enter the adult world;
- The coordination of the transition planning process, including development of necessary interagency agreements and procedures at both state and local levels;
- The provision of instructional learning strategies that will assist students who find learning difficult in acquiring skills that will enable them to obtain diplomas, promote a positive attitude toward secondary and post- secondary life.
- The development and implementation of systematic and longitudinal vocational education curriculum including the following:
- Instructional strategies that will prepare students with significant disabilities to make a successful transition to supported employment and the community;
- The introduction of vocational and career education curriculum in the elementary grades for those students who can benefit from it.
- Materials, resource manuals, and in-service training programs to support the active participation of families in the planning and implementation of transition-related goals and activities;
- The development of resources and in-service training that will support the implementation of individualized transition planning for all special education students.
- The development of a network of model demonstration sites that illustrate a wide variety of transition models and implementation strategies;
- Coordination with other specialized programs that serve students who face barriers to successful transition;
- A research, evaluation, and dissemination program that will support the major programmatic aspects of transition services.
Through a variety of competitive grants, bids, contracts, and other awards specific content areas will be developed in cooperation with a variety of field-based agencies, including local education agencies, special education local plan areas, county offices, institutions of higher education, and in-service training agencies. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56462.]