Child Find Procedures

Child Find Procedures

Child Find is a program by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) and local school districts. Child Find requires districts to identify, locate and evaluate children (birth through age 25) with disabilities, including children who are homeless, wards of the state, migrants and those who attend private schools.

The primary purpose is to identify children who have a disability that affects his or her progress in the general education curriculum (for preschool-age children that affects involvement in age-level activities). This information is used to determine if the student is eligible for special education programs and services and to address the unique needs of the student.

GISD, along with the 21 local school districts and the 13 public school academies, have a legal responsibility to provide a free and appropriate public education for all students with disabilities who reside within our districts. The GISD Assistant Superintendent for Special Services and the designated special education administrator of each local school district and public school academy will provide information to persons with disabilities, their parents, and members of the community, about programs and opportunities, required under the law, in their districts as well as within the intermediate school district.

The GISD Assistant Superintendent for Special Services and local special education administrators may use the Special Education Parent Handbook for Genesee County School Districts to provide this information.

GISD, the principal of the Early Childhood Programs and Services (ECPS) at GISD, and/or the special education administrators from each local school district and public school academy are appointed as the person(s) responsible for coordinating Child Find activities within the GISD. The ECPS principal will work in cooperation with Early On Genesee County to ensure uniform informational items are disseminated throughout the county via radio, television, newspaper advertisements, organizational presentations, social media outreach and other public awareness activities. Kearsley includes this information on its website.

Any parent, physician, agency, or individual may refer a child to Child Find by written request or by contacting Jim Huiskens, Director of Special Education, at the Kearsley Community Schools Administration Building, 4396 Underhill Drive, Flint, MI 48506. Huiskens can be reached at (810) 591-7604 or jhuiskens@kearsleyschools.org

Written requests received at the GISD will be date stamped by that office and forwarded via fax, scan or email to the school district of residence or to the public school academy where the child is enrolled within 24 hours of its receipt. School-aged students enrolled in a school within the GISD are provided with multiple tiers of intervention when difficulties arise.

The Child Find team monitors each student’s performance through the tiers of intervention. If these interventions do not achieve expected results, the team may refer the student for a special education evaluation. However, at any time the parent may still request an initial evaluation to determine if their child meets eligibility requirements, regardless of the district’s use of the multiple tiers of intervention. These interventions cannot be used to delay or deny the provision of an initial evaluation or a free and appropriate education. All evaluations are coordinated and completed by either the school district in which the student resides or by the public school academy in which the student is enrolled.

Within 10 school days of the received written request, the district will respond to the request with a Prior Written Notice (PWN) statement. The PWN statement will include the action that the school district proposes or refuses to take, an explanation of why the school district proposes or refuses action, description of the evaluation data used to determine proposed or refused action, description of other choices that the individualized education plan (IEP) team considered, description of other reasons why the district proposes or refuses the action, resources for the parents to contact for help in understanding Part B of IDEA, and how a parent can obtain a copy of procedural safeguards. Initial special education evaluations will be completed only after the written parental consent to evaluate is received.

Each student suspected of having a disability will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary evaluation team and will make a recommendation of eligibility. The team is comprised of certified, highly qualified staff, such as psychologists, social workers, speech therapists, and other ancillary staff. These evaluators will prepare a report to be presented to the IEP team by a team member who can explain the instructional implications of the evaluation results. The report shall include information needed by the IEP team to determine the eligibility of the student, the student's present level of academic achievement and functional performance, and any educational needs of the student. The evaluation will be completed and, if eligible, an offer of free and appropriate education (FAPE) will be provided within 30 school days from the date the written parental consent to evaluate is received.

If the child is eligible for special education, a program and/or services will be developed to meet the child’s unique needs. Special Education services may include academic programs and/or ancillary support services. Ancillary services may include social work services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language services. Consultation services from social workers, school psychologists, and teacher consultants for students with visual or hearing impairment, or autism, are available when needed.

Programs and services are dependent upon the individual needs of the student. Within seven (7) school days from the date of the IEP team meeting, the local school district or public school academy shall provide the parent with written notice of an offer of a FAPE or determination of ineligibility. The notice shall identify where the programs and services are to be provided and when the IEP begins. The parent has 10 school days after receipt of the notice of an initial offer of a FAPE to provide the public agency with written parental consent. The local school district or public school academy will implement the child’s IEP within 15 school days from the receipt of consent, unless a later date is agreed upon by the district and the parent. The local school district or public school academy will keep records documenting its compliance with all program requirements as identified in all rules and regulations. These services will be documented by the local special education administrator.

Additional information and details regarding Child Find and Special Education programs and services can be obtained by contacting Jim Huiskens, Director of Special Education at Kearsley Community Schools, at (810) 591-7604 or jhuiskens@kearsleyschools.org.