Transition from IDEA Part C to IDEA Part B
Part C of IDEA was established originally to provide early intervention services for children from birth until three years of age. In 2004, the most recent authorization of IDEA allowed States the flexibility to choose to provide Part C services until children are eligible to enter Kindergarten. Parents should check their States Education Code to determine when the transition will apply in their State.
Using California as an example this article will walk through the transition process. Part C services in California are governed under an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that will end on the child’s third birthday.
When the child reaches 2 years and 6 months old the IFSP team must conduct a review meeting. While there is no requirement to discuss transition planning at this meeting it is good practice to start the discussion early and generally will require the parents initiating the conversation.
When the child reaches 2 years and 9 months old the IFSP must conduct a transition meeting. While a School District official must be invited they do not have to attend. Parents and team members should do their best to try and get School District participation at this meeting. Typically, this meeting will let the team discuss the child’s transition needs and formulate a transition plan. From this conversation the school district and the rest of the team should come up with an IEP assessment plan for the parents to consent to. This meeting is held three months prior to the child’s birthday in order to:
- Give the School District time to come up with an assessment plan (No more than 15 days);
- Give the Parents time to consent to the assessment plan (At least 15 days); and
- Give the School District time to assess the child in all areas of suspected disability (No more than 60 days from when the parents consent to the assessment plan).
When the child reaches 3 year old all of the assessments need to be completed, an initial IEP meeting needs to be held and the IEP needs to be implemented.
In many instances the first IEP meeting for parents is a big shock. While Part C, early intervention services, are family based services, the IEP services are focused on the child. The majority of these IEP services are provided by the School District and often times in group setting at the child’s school. IFSP services are often one on one services provided at the child’s home. All services provided by the IEP must help the child access their educational environment and are typically not medically based. Once parents learn the nuances of the services allowed under Part B of IDEA versus Part C of IDEA there is actually a world of possibilities to explore to help their child navigate through school.