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(9.19) My child’s case is pending before the juvenile court. Can I do anything to avoid or minimize the consequences of a court-ordered residential placement?

(9.19) My child’s case is pending before the juvenile court. Can I do anything to avoid or minimize the consequences of a court-ordered residential placement?

Yes. You may be able to convince a judge to delay placement pending the IEP process. You can argue that an IEP placement will not only be in your interest, but also in the court’s as well – allowing it to avoid financial and legal responsibility for your child.  You could also tell the judge that court placement may delay or prevent the implementation of services. It would be helpful if you have already made the appropriate referral for residential placement to the school district.

If the judge insists on placing your child, you can at least try to convince the court to allow you to retain educational rights so you can continue to participate in the educational planning for your child. If the judge has already placed a dependent or ward, you may file a petition to change or modify the residential placement order if there are changed circumstances. Anyone can file this petition.

Since your child is currently involved in the court system, these arguments are best made by a private attorney or public defender who is knowledgeable about the IEP process or who has help from a special education advocate.