New Jersey E.I. Transition Policy Announced
In the Winter 2015 publication of People & Families, an announcement was made for the first time regarding an interagency agreement to improve transition for toddlers from Early Intervention to Preschool services. In 2012, the Health and Education departments signed a five page interagency agreement on this issue. It outlined the responsibilities of both agencies for toddlers leaving early intervention. The agreement is titled “Interagency Part C to Part B Transition Agreement Between NJEIS within the Department of Health and the Office of Special Education within the Department of Education.”
Part C (of IDEA) transition requirements as established in the interagency agreement states:
- NJEIS considers all toddlers receiving services as “potentially eligible” for preschool services.
- NJEIS must give notice to the DOE and local school district of the child’s residence and that the child “may be eligible” unless the parent chooses to opt out of the special education services.
- The NJEIS service coordinator must discuss the notification and referral policies closest to the child’s second birthday, including:
- IDEA requires disclosure of limited personal information without parent consent to the child’s local school district.
- Transmission of information does not obligate the parent to pursue special education.
- Parents have 10 days to “opt out” of the notification/referral disclosure by signing the NJEIS Notification Opt-Out form.
- If parents do not opt out, the NJEIS service coordinator sends a notification, which constitutes a referral, to the local school district and the Office of Education. That notification includes:
- Child’s name
- Child’s date of birth
- Parent contact information
- The purpose of the notification: to determine special education eligibility, with a meeting convened within 20 days.
- Not fewer than 90 days before the toddler’s third birthday. NJEIS notifies the DOE and local school district that eligibility for special education occurs on the third birthday.
- If a toddler is referred to NJEIS fewer than 45 days before the third birthday, the child may be eligible for Part B services under IDEA with parent consent. NJEIS is not required to evaluate the child.
- NJEIS schedules a planning conference not less than 90 days before the third birthday, with family and the local school district to discuss services the toddler may receive as a preschool child with a disability.
- A transition plan is established not more than 9 months and not less than 90 days before the third birthday.
- Each family of the toddler is included in developing the transition plan that exits the child from NJEIS and transitions responsibility for services to the local school district.
- Transition steps include:
- Future placements
- Steps to help the child adjust to the new setting
- Continuity of services from one agency to the other
- Identification of transition services/activities to support transition of the child
- The transition conference for NJEIS can be combined with the IFSP conference in the local school district.
IDEA PART B
- A free appropriate public education must be made available to each eligible child by the third birthday.
- An individualized education program (IEP) must be in effect by the third birthday.
- If the third birthday is in the summer, the IEP Team will decide when the services begin.
- There is to be a smooth and effective transition from early intervention to the preschool program. The NJEIS service coordinator is the designated representative to assist with smooth transition of services.
- The IEP must be developed and implemented by the child’s third birthday.
- Each affected local school district will participate in transition planning conferences with NJEIS and the DOE.
- The IEP Team must consider the IFSP content, including the natural environments statement, when developing the IEP.
This interagency agreement was immediately effective on 7/2/12 though not referenced publicly until 2015.