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Understanding Child Find and the Eligibility Process: A Guide for Parents

Navigating the world of special education can be daunting for parents. Understanding your child’s rights and the processes in place to ensure they receive the appropriate education is crucial. One fundamental aspect of this is the Child Find mandate, a crucial component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Here, we’ll break down what Child Find is and the eligibility process, helping you become a more informed advocate for your child’s education.

What is Child Find?

Child Find is a legal requirement under IDEA that obligates schools to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who may need special education and related services.

This includes children who are:

  • Homeless or highly mobile

  • Wards of the state

  • Attending private schools

  • Home-schooled

  • Advancing from grade to grade without being retained

The goal of Child Find is to ensure that every child with a disability has access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that meets their unique needs.

The Eligibility Process

Once a potential need is identified, the eligibility process begins. This process typically involves several steps:

  1. Referral: A referral can be made by anyone who suspects that a child may have a disability. This could be a teacher, parent, doctor, or another professional involved in the child’s care.

  2. Evaluation: After a referral is made, the school must conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine if the child has a disability and needs special education services. This evaluation must be completed within a specific timeframe and must be thorough and non-discriminatory.

  3. Eligibility Determination: Based on the evaluation results, a team of professionals, including the parents, will determine if the child is eligible for special education services. To be eligible, a child must meet specific criteria outlined under IDEA.

  4. Individualized Education Program (IEP): If the child is found eligible, an IEP will be developed. This is a legally binding document that outlines the child’s educational goals, the services the school will provide, and how progress will be measured.

Why Legal Assistance is Important

The Child Find and eligibility process can be complex and overwhelming. As a parent, you have the right to seek assistance from a special education advocate or attorney to ensure your child’s rights are protected. Special education attorneys and advocates in Georgia, like those at The Hull Firm, can help guide you through this process, advocate on your behalf, and ensure your child receives the appropriate services they are entitled to.

If you suspect your child may have a disability and need special education services, don't navigate this process alone. The Hull Firm is here to help. Our team of dedicated special education attorneys and advocates in Georgia is ready to assist you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing the education your child deserves.



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