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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board of Education
Chapter 81. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia
9/18/2019

8VAC20-81-50. Child Find.

A. Child find.

1. Each local school division shall maintain an active and continuing child find program designed to identify, locate and evaluate those children residing in the jurisdiction who are birth to age 21, inclusive, who are in need of special education and related services, including children who: (34 CFR 300.102 and 34 CFR 300.111)

a. Are highly mobile, such as migrant and homeless children;

b. Are wards of the state;

c. Attend private schools, including children who are home-instructed or home-tutored;

d. Are suspected of being children with disabilities under this chapter and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade; and

e. Are under age 18, who are suspected of having a disability who need special education and related services, and who are incarcerated in a regional or local jail in its jurisdiction for 10 or more days.

2. Each local school division shall coordinate child find activities for infants and toddlers (birth to age two, inclusive) with the Part C local interagency coordinating council. (34 CFR 300.124)

3. Each local school division shall locate, identify and evaluate children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools and secondary schools. (34 CFR 300.131, 34 CFR 300.133, 34 CFR 300.134)

a. The child find process shall be designed to ensure:

(1) The equitable participation of parentally placed private school children; and

(2) An accurate count of those children.

b. The local school division shall undertake activities similar to the activities undertaken for its public school children.

c. The cost of carrying out the child find requirements, including individual evaluation, may not be considered in determining if a local educational agency has met its obligation under 34 CFR 300.133.

d. The child find process shall be completed in a time period comparable to that for students attending public school in the local educational agency.

e. Each local school division in which private, including religious, elementary and secondary schools, are located, shall include parentally placed private school children, including those who reside in a state other than Virginia, or country other than the United States.

(1) If the location of the administration of the private school in which the child attends is different from the school division in which the private school is located, the school division in which the private school is located and which the child attends is responsible for the child find activities.

f. The local school division shall consult with appropriate representatives of private school children with disabilities, as well as home-instructed or home-tutored children with disabilities, and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities, on how to implement the child find and evaluation activities.

B. Public awareness. Each local school division shall, at least annually, conduct a public awareness campaign to:

1. Inform the community of a person's, ages two to 21, inclusive, statutory right to a free appropriate public education and the availability of special education programs and services;

2. Generate referrals; and

3. Explain the nature of disabilities, the early warning signs of disabilities, and the need for services to begin early.

C. Screening.

1. Each local school division shall have procedures, including timelines, to document the screening of children enrolled in the division, including transfers from out of state as follows:

a. Children shall be screened in the areas of hearing and vision in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-250-10. (§ 22.1-273 of the Code of Virginia)

b. Children shall be screened for scoliosis in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-690-20. (§ 22.1-273.1 of the Code of Virginia)

c. Children shall be screened in the areas of speech, voice, language, and fine and gross motor functions to determine if a referral for an evaluation for special education and related services is indicated.

d. Children who fail any of the above screenings may be rescreened if the original results are not considered valid.

e. The local educational agency may recognize screenings reported as part of the child's pre-school physical examination required under the Code of Virginia. (§ 22.1-270 of the Code of Virginia)

f. Children shall be referred to the special education administrator or designee if results suggest that a referral for evaluation for special education and related services is indicated. The referral shall include the screening results.

2. The local school division shall provide all applicable procedural safeguards. These include the following:

a. Written notice to parents of the scheduled screening and, if the child fails the screening, the results of the screening;

b. Confidentiality; and

c. Maintenance of the student's scholastic record.

3. Screening for instructional purposes is not an evaluation. The screening of a student by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services. (34 CFR 300.302)

D. Referrals.

1. Each school shall have procedures to process in a timely manner all referral requests for a child suspected of having a disability.

2. Each school shall have a team to review records and other performance evidence of the child being referred in order to make recommendations to meet the child's educational and behavioral needs.

a. The team shall include:

(1) The referring source, as appropriate (except if inclusion of a referring source would breach the confidentiality of the child);

(2) The principal or designee;

(3) At least one teacher; and

(4) At least one specialist.

b. Other members may be included according to the school division's procedures, or when the school division determines that the special needs of the child identified in the referral request requires additional information that should be provided by individuals with specialized training or specific knowledge.

c. One member of the team must be knowledgeable about alternative interventions and about procedures required to access programs and services that are available to assist with children's educational needs.

3. Children may be referred through a screening process, or by school staff, the parent(s), or other individuals.

a. The referral may be in written, electronic, or oral form to the principal or designee of the school the child attends, or if initially enrolling in the school division, in the school in the parent's district.

b. If the referral is made to the special education administrator or designee, the administrator shall within three business days:

(1) Initiate the evaluation eligibility process in accordance with 8VAC20-81-60, 8VAC20-81-70, and 8VAC20-81-80;

(2) Require that the school-based team review and respond to the request; or

(3) Deny the request.

If the request is denied, prior written notice in accordance with 8VAC20-81-170 shall be given to the parent(s), including the parent's right to appeal the decision through the due process hearing procedures. (34 CFR 300.507)

4. In reviewing the child's performance, the team may use a process based on the child's response to scientific, research-based interventions or other alternative research-based procedures. (34 CFR 300.307)

a. The team shall ensure that these interventions are documented and do not needlessly delay a child suspected of having a disability from being evaluated for special education and related services.

b. If the child has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time during the implementation of the interventions, the team shall refer the child to the special education administrator or designee for an evaluation to determine if the child needs special education and related services. (34 CFR 300.309)

5. Timelines for referral process.

a. The team shall meet within 10 business days following the receipt of the referral.

b. The team shall refer the child to the special education administrator or designee within three business days if the team determines that the child should be referred for an evaluation for special education and related services.

c. If the team decides not to refer for an evaluation for special education and related services, prior written notice in accordance with 8VAC20-81-170 shall be given to the parent(s), including the parent's right to appeal the decision through the due process hearing. (34 CFR 300.507)

6. Actions by the team shall be documented in writing and shall include information upon which a decision was based.

E. Prohibition on mandatory medication (34 CFR 300.174).

1. The Virginia Department of Education prohibits state and local educational agency personnel from requiring parents to obtain a prescription for substances identified under Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V in § 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC § 812(c)) for a child as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation under 34 CFR 300.300 through 34 CFR 300.311, or receiving services under this part.

2. Teachers and other school personnel may consult or share classroom-based observations with parents or guardians regarding a student's academic and functional performance, or behavior in the classroom or school, or regarding the need for evaluation for special education or related services.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia; 20 USC § 1400 et seq.; 34 CFR Part 300.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 7, 2009.

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