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Safeguard your reimbursement

In recent years since the Supreme Court ruled in Forest Grove School District, 54 IDELR 237 (SEA OR 2010), there has been much controversy over the Court's ruling that previous special education eligibility is not a mandatory perquisite to reimbursement when families unilaterally place their children in a private placement. We wanted to provide certain things to consider before you place your child in a private placement and possibly risk a significant amount of money.

The following are things to consider prior to making the financial commitment to place your child in a private residential placement:

Request a special education evaluation in writing. This may be obvious but parents often think they have made several requests to their school district without any results so "what's the use"? Please keep in mind that courts will always look to see if parents requested an evaluation prior to unilateral placement;

Document verbal requests for assistance. It is good practice to follow up any verbal requests for assistance with an email or a fax memo memorializing what you requested and your school district's response;

Behavior Plans or Behavior Contracts. If your child is exhibiting frequent behavioral challenges, has your school district attempted to create a behavior plan or contract to address the problematic behaviors? It is good practice to make a request for these type of behavior intervention prior to unilateral placement;

Collect data and review. You should requests all data related to your child's response to different interventions and strategies implemented by your school district. The school district has to monitor these interventions and analyze your child's success;

Place the District on notice 10 school days prior to unilateral placement. Although failure to notify your school district is not an absolute bar, the court may discount or completely deny reimbursement.

Enrollment documents. Once you have committed to placing your child in a private placement, make sure you indicate at least one of the reasons you are enrolling your child into their facility is for "educational purposes". Although your inclination may reasonably be to place your child for "behavioral" or "personal" reasons, please keep in mind you must draw a link between the reasons for placement and your school district's responsibility to pay for it.

Be reasonable. Placing your child into a private residential placement is extremely emotionally taxing on a family. It is reasonable that you may be resentful toward your school district for their lack of assistance. Please keep in mind, however, courts look at you behavior as well as the school district's behavior. As such, answer any calls made by school district personnel and attend any meetings your school district attempts to schedule to discuss your child's needs.

Contact Our Office

If you are considering placing your child in a residential private placement Contact us by email or call us at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723 (toll free) for more information.

We welcome your participation in the discussions on this blog. Feel free to comment on posts that interest you.

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Augustin Egelsee L.L.P.
8141 East Kaiser Boulevard
Suite 315
Anaheim Hills, CA 92808

Toll Free: 866-781-7723
Phone: 714-602-1498
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Toll Free: 866-781-7723
Local: 714-282-1231

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