U.S. Department of Education Announces Intent to Amend Parental Consent Requirement in IDEA Part B

In a recently released ‘Plan for Retrospective Analysis’, the U.S. DOE calls out the parental consent requirement in IDEA Part B as a target for change.

 

The U.S. DOE calls out forthcoming proposed rule-making changes aimed at amending IDEA Part B “with the goals of maintaining critical parent protections and ensuring parents have the information they need regarding a public agency’s use of their public benefits or insurance as part of providing FAPE while reducing unnecessary burden on a public agency’s ability to access public benefits or insurance in appropriate circumstances.”

IDEA Part B Program. Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Department provides grants to States, outlying areas, and freely associated States, as well as funds to the Department of the Interior, to assist them in providing special education and related services to children with disabilities ages 3 through 21.  There are four key purposes of the Part B program and implementing regulations:  (1) ensuring that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that includes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living; (2) ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected; (3) assisting States, localities, educational service agencies, and Federal agencies in providing for the education of children with disabilities; and (4) assessing and ensuring the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities. Over the last six months, we have engaged in a review of one particular provision of the Part B regulations, relating to the use of public benefits or insurance to pay for services provided to children under Part B.  IDEA and the Part B regulations allow public agencies to use public benefits or insurance (e.g., Medicaid) to provide or pay for services required under Part B with the consent of the parent of a child who is enrolled under the public benefits or insurance program.  Public insurance is an important source of financial support for services required under Part B.  With respect to the use of public insurance, §300.154(d)(2)(iv)(A) of our current regulations specifically provides that a public agency must obtain parental consent, consistent with §300.9, “each time that access to public benefits or insurance is sought.”   We will soon be issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend §300.154(d)(2)(iv) with the goals of maintaining critical parent protections and ensuring parents have the information they need regarding a public agency’s use of their public benefits or insurance as part of providing FAPE while reducing unnecessary burden on a public agency’s ability to access public benefits or insurance in appropriate circumstances.

 

Future Analysis for IDEA Part B Reporting Requirements

Future retroactive analysis candidates for regulatory review over the next two years are also planned for  “Reporting requirements under Part B of IDEA.  We have heard from a number of States about the burden associated with the annual reporting requirements under Part B of IDEA.  We intend to conduct a review of these regulations and requirements to assess their effectiveness and determine whether burden can be reduced without diminishing the rights of students with disabilities.”

 

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