The Transition Bill of Rights for Parents of Students Receiving Special Education Services:
On May 17, 2016, the State Department of Education (“CSDE”) distributed to school superintendents the Transition Bill of Rights, which was approved by the State Board of Education on May 4, 2016. The CSDE developed the Bill of Rights in accordance with Public Act 15-209, as codified in Connecticut General Statutes § 10-76ll, which required the CSDE to draft a written transition bill of rights for parents of children receiving special education services “to guarantee that the rights of such parents and children are adequately safeguarded and protected during the provision of special education and related services.”
Subsequently, the CSDE and the Bureau of Special Education issued memoranda containing additional discussion about the Bill of Rights. Access the CSDE memo here, and the Bureau of Special Education memo here.
The Bill’s Contents:
The Bill of Rights, which includes twelve “rights,” notifies parents and guardians of their rights regarding the transition planning process. For example, the document notifies parents and guardians of the right to:
- Receive transition services starting at age 16;
- Receive transition services to help children meet post-secondary goals in education, training, and academics;
- Identify and explore services from outside agencies, such as the Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction, among others;
- Request transition-only services between the ages of 18 and 21 under certain circumstances; and
- Receive resources regarding transition services published by the CSDE, including but not limited to Building a Bridge, A Transition Manual for Students.
New Notice Requirements:
The rights described in the Bill are not new legal requirements. See, e.g., Connecticut’s Transition Training Manual and Resource Directory; Building a Bridge: A Transition Manual for Students.
What are new, however, are the notice requirements. The law requires school districts to distribute the Bill of Rights to parents of all children receiving special education services in grades six through twelve, inclusive, once per year at a PPT meeting. The school must document the provision of the Bill of Rights in the student’s IEP, on page 10. Per the memorandum distributed by the CSDE, the Bill of Rights must be provided at a PPT meeting for students in grades six through twelve during the 2015-2016 school year; however, if a PPT meeting is not scheduled to be held during this school year, the Bill of Rights must be mailed to the parents or guardians. If the Bill of Rights is mailed, we recommend that the school document the mailing date in the student’s educational record.
Schools should remember that, in addition to the Transition Bill of Rights, PPTs are required to notify parents at each PPT meeting of “any relevant information and resources relating to IEPs created by the CSDE, including, but not limited to, information relating to secondary transition resources and services for high school students.”
If you have any questions about the Transition Bill of Rights or the memoranda from the CSDE, please contact Ben F. Kendrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-251-5182 or Gwen J. Zittoun at email@example.com or 860-251-5523.