ASHA members have expressed difficulty providing services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—including both Part C (early intervention services) and Part B (preschool-grade 12 services)—during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In particular, members who provide early intervention services, Part C coordinators, and school district personnel have experienced challenges with the transition process from Part C to Part B. This includes issues with individualized family service plan meetings, evaluation processes, timeline requirements, and continuity of care. There are also concerns about adequate funding for IDEA services during the pandemic, and in future budgets.
On April 27, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos submitted a Report to Congress regarding the Recommended Waiver Authority [PDF] as required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136). This report recommended additional statutory waiver authority under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and IDEA. Secretary DeVos did not request waiver authority for any of the core tenets of IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which set requirements for a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
The Secretary did, however, recommend limited waiver authority to address Part C to Part B transition services. This waiver would extend the IDEA Part B transition timeline and allow the continuation of IDEA Part C services beyond a child’s third birthday.
ASHA supports this waiver request to ensure that children receiving services under Part C can continue receiving services after their third birthday, while awaiting an eligibility determination for Part B, with certain conditions. If Congress approves this waiver, it must require that services continue and provide additional funding to ensure that children are able to continue receiving services pending an evaluation. Congress must also provide adequate funding to ensure that parents will not be responsible for any cost sharing for services provided after the child turns 3 years old.
ASHA has individually [PDF] and as a part of several coalitions, including the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities [PDF], urged Congress to provide at least $12.5 billion in funding for IDEA. This includes at least $500 million for IDEA Part C and $400 million for IDEA Part B, Section 619 (additional preschool formula grants).
ASHA members can take action by asking your members of Congress to provide $12.8 billion in supplemental funding dedicated to IDEA Parts B and C!
Contact Eric Masten, ASHA’s director of federal affairs for education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.