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(12.28) If I disagree with the regional center or school district’s IFSP recommendations, what are my “due process” rights?

(12.28) If I disagree with the regional center or school district’s IFSP recommendations, what are my “due process” rights?

You must be given written notice (in the language of the parent’s choice, where feasible) a reasonable time before a regional center or school district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, assessment data, placement or services of an infant or toddler. Even those children who are identified (but never made eligible) are entitled to written notice of the agency’s refusal to provide services. The written notice must give enough details to inform you about what the agency is proposing or refusing, the reasons for it, and all of the rights and procedures you have to challenge the proposal or refusal. [17 C.C.R. Sec. 52161.]

You must be given an opportunity to present your information and arguments against whatever it is the service agency is proposing or refusing to do. This opportunity is called a “fair hearing” or “due process hearing.” It is not used to complain about an agency’s failure to follow laws or procedures or to carry out the service identified in the IFSP. Due process is to resolve disputes about your child’s eligibility for the program or about what services should go into her IFSP.

At the hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will hear the testimony from both sides. The ALJ will consider what the evaluation and assessment reports and other records say about your child and/or what she may need in the way of placement or services. The ALJ will issue a written decision after the hearing. [17 C.C.R Sec. 52174.]

However, you may enter into a voluntary mediation conference to try to resolve the dispute between you and the agency without holding a hearing. You can even do this without having to first request a hearing. Although mediation (with a state mediator) is not required, it is useful to resolve at least some, if not all, of the disputed issues without the expense and effort of a hearing. The mediation, hearing and receipt of a written decision should take no more than 30 days from the date of your request for due process. [17 C.C.R. Secs. 52172 – 52173.]

If your child is already receiving services under an IFSP and the agency wants to reduce or terminate some or all services, your child must continue to receive the level of service she was previously receiving from the agency while due process procedures are being followed to challenge the proposed reduction or termination. [17 C.C.R. Sec. 52172(g).] This is commonly called “stay put.”

For a mediation conference or hearing, you must mail a written request to:

Office of Administrative Hearings
Attn: Early Start
2349 Gateway Oaks Drive, Ste. 200
Sacramento, CA 95833
Telephone: 916-263-0654
Facsimile: 916-376-6318