Child Find is a process designed to identify, locate, and evaluate individuals from birth to 21 years of age who may need special education and related services. If you are concerned that your child may have a disability, contact your local school district or charter school for more information about the Child Find process.
Big Thicket Cooperative Special Education Department
Region 5 Education Service Center
School districts and public charter schools must ensure that a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is provided for children who are identified as needing special education and related services.
Child Find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Child Find?
Child Find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) 2004 that requires States and Local Education Agencies (school districts and charter schools) to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities residing in the State, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services (34 CFR§ 300.111). Child Find is a continuous process of public awareness activities, screening and evaluation designed to locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities who are in need of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Programs (Part C) or Special Education and Related Services (Part B).
What does "child with a disability" mean?
The term "child with a disability" means a child with intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance (referred to as "emotional disturbance"), orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services (34 CFR§ 300.8)..
What do I do if I know of an infant, child, or adolescent who does not learn easily?
All individuals develop at their own pace but some have more difficulty than others. Early identification and intervention can prevent failure and frustration. Special attention to teaching and learning strategies may help individuals overcome barriers to learning. Often these strategies can be provided through general education programs. The Child Find Framework of the Legal Framework for the Child Centered Process (www.esc18.net) provides additional information and outlines mandates. Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), 2001, each LEA must have a district improvement plan developed to guide district and campus staff in the improvement of student performance for all student groups in order to attain state standards. The district improvement plan must include strategies for improvement of student performance such as: instructional methods designed based on the needs of student groups not achieving; processes for addressing the needs of children in special programs; integration of technology in instructional and administrative programs; positive behavior supports; staff development for educators; and accelerated instruction.
What happens if the student continues to struggle even with these general education supports?
The parent(s) or legal guardian will be contacted by the local school district. The child may be referred for a full individual evaluation (FIE) to help determine eligibility for special education and related services. Parents/guardians and the school will decide if an evaluation is needed. The same group may develop an evaluation plan designed to assess areas of concern. If appropriate, an evaluation will be conducted by qualified school district/agency personnel. The parents and evaluation personnel will have a meeting to talk about evaluation results and eligibility for special education and related services.
Who can begin the Child Find process?
Anyone can start the process: a parent/guardian, doctor, teacher, relative or friend can call their local school district Child Find. If you are concerned about a child’s learning, contact your local school campus, district, or charter school.
What services may be available through special education?
Each child’s individual need(s) will be addressed on an individualized basis by a team consisting of: public agency representative, parent(s) or guardian, a person who can interpret evaluation, teacher(s), and the student (if appropriate). The team will review evaluation information, discuss eligibility, identify area(s) of need for specialized instruction, including related services (such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or counseling) and develop a plan to fit the needs of the child.
How much do services cost?
All services provided by Local Education Agencies (school districts and charter schools) through IDEA 2004 (Part B) Special Education and Related Services (Part B) are at no cost to the individual or parents.
Who do I contact?
If you are concerned about a child’s learning, please contact Big Thicket Special Education Department at 409-923-7453 for further information.
For those students who are having difficulty in the regular classroom, all school districts must consider tutorial, compensatory, and other academic or behavior support services that are available to all students, including a process based on Response to Intervention (RtI). The implementation of RtI has the potential to have a positive impact on the ability of districts to meet the needs of all struggling students. If a student is experiencing learning difficulties, his or her parent may contact the individuals listed below to learn about the school’s overall general education referral or screening system for support services. This system links students to a variety of support options, including making a referral for a special education evaluation or for a Section 504 evaluation to determine whether the student needs specific aids, accommodations, or services. A parent may request an evaluation for special education or Section 504 services at any time.
Special Education Referrals If a parent makes a written request for an initial evaluation for special education services to the director of special education services or to a district administrative employee of the school district, the district must respond no later than 15 school days after receiving the request. At that time, the district must give the parent prior written notice of whether it agrees or refuses to evaluate the student, along with a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards. If the district agrees to evaluate the student, it must also give the parent the opportunity to give written consent for the evaluation. A request for a special education evaluation may be made verbally; it does not need to be made in writing. Districts must still comply with all federal prior-written notices and procedural safeguard requirements as well as the requirements for identifying, locating, and evaluating children who are suspected of having a disability and in need of special education. However, a verbal request does not require the district to respond within the 15 school-day timeline. If the district decides to evaluate the student, it must complete the student’s initial evaluation and evaluation report no later than 45 school days from the day it receives a parent’s written consent. However, if the student is absent from school during the evaluation period for three or more school days, the evaluation period will be extended by the number of school days equal to the number of school days that the student is absent. There is an exception to the 45-school-day timeline. If the district receives a parent’s consent for the initial evaluation at least 35 but less than 45 school days before the last instructional day of the school year, it must complete the written report and provide a copy of the report to the parent by June 30 of that year. However, if the student is absent from school for three or more days during the evaluation period, the June 30 due date no longer applies. Instead, the general timeline of 45 school days plus extensions for absences of three or more days will apply. Upon completing the evaluation, the district must give the parent a copy of the evaluation report at no cost. Additional information regarding special education is available from the school district in a companion document titled Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process. Contact Person for Special Education Referrals. The designated person to contact regarding options for a student experiencing learning difficulties or regarding a referral for evaluation for special education services is Brandi Stapleton at 409-923-7453.
Section 504 Referrals-Each school district must have standards and procedures in place for the evaluation and placement of students in the district’s Section 504 program. Districts must also implement a system of procedural safeguards that includes: Notice, An opportunity for a parent or guardian to examine relevant records. An impartial hearing with an opportunity for participation by the parent or guardian and representation by counsel, and A review procedure. Contact Person for Section 504 Referrals The designated person to contact regarding options for a student experiencing learning difficulties or regarding a referral for evaluation for Section 504 services is the campus counselor, for high school contact the assistant principal for special populations. [See A Student with Physical or Mental Impairments Protected under Section 504 on page 33.] Notification to Parents of Intervention Strategies for Learning Difficulties Provided to Students in General Education In accordance with state law, the district will annually notify parents if their child receives assistance for learning difficulties. Details of such assistance can include intervention strategies. This notice is not intended for those students already enrolled in a special education program.