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(5.35) What can I do if my child is not receiving a related service, as provided in the IEP, because the service provider is absent?

(5.35) What can I do if my child is not receiving a related service, as provided in the IEP, because the service provider is absent?

The best remedy is prevention.  It would be proper to discuss the issue of a service provider’s absence at the IEP meeting when the team writes the service in the IEP. The IEP team could then plan for, and set out in the IEP, what will happen if a related service provider is absent.

Obviously, advance planning is most critical in the case of services required to enable a child to attend school at all (such as transportation or school health services) or to attend school safely (such as a behavioral aide).  It is not acceptable for a child to miss school or be denied the right to participate in special activities like field trips due to the district’s failure to provide a necessary service.  It is critical that the district has plans for ensuring that a substitute provider will be available.  It would not be proper to deny services specified in an IEP when an absence occurs more than occasionally or is predictable.  Where another agency (for example, a “non-public agency” provider) fails to provide necessary services, it is the district’s responsibility to do so.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.154(b)(2).]

Districts must provide services specified in a student’s IEP.  When the district (or a public or private agency provider) fails to do so, you may file a compliance complaint with the CDE.  [See Chapter 6, Information on Due Process/Compliance Procedures.]