Department of Special Education Family Support Center
Family Support Center staff are committed to provide information to parents and families to work as equal partners with the Local Education Agency. Specifically, each Family Support Center seeks to:
- Increase parental involvement in the early intervention and special education decision making process;
- Increase collaborative relationships through information and training;
- Assist families in resolving concerns and making informed decisions regarding their child’s education; and
- Provide information about disabilities and school system and community resources.
The purpose of the Family Support Center is:
- To provide information about disabilities and related services
- To increase awareness of community services
- To assist families in resolving educational concerns
- To connect families with resources they may need to make informed decisions regarding their child’s education
- To strengthen collaborative relationships with families, schools, and community partners
Services provided include:
- Assistance with understanding the IEP process
- Access to disability-specific workshops, fairs, and conferences
- Assistance with preparing for your child’s annual review
- Assistance with understanding how to resolve disagreements
- Referrals to community resources
Parent Coordinator, Family Support Liaison
Maryland Procedural Safeguards – Parental Rights
The procedural safeguards notice includes a full explanation of parental rights in an easily understandable manner and in the parent’s native language. The procedural safeguards notice applies to children and families receiving services through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and to children and youth with disabilities receiving services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (DSE/EIS) has made available the 20 language translations for Maryland’s Parental Rights Procedural Safeguards Notice, effective January 2021.
Amharic | Arabic | Bengali | Burmese | Chinese | French | Gujarati | Haitian Creole | Hebrew | Hindi | Korean | Nepali | Polish | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish | Tagalog | Turkish | Urdu | Vietnamese
Mediation is a process that may be used to resolve disagreements between the parents of a child with a disability and the public agency responsible for the education of the child. If during an IEP team meeting the parent disagrees with the child’s IEP or the special education services provided to the child, the IEP team shall provide the parent, in plain language:
- An oral and written explanation of the parent’s right to request mediation;
- Contact information, including telephone number, that parents may use to receive more information about the mediation process; and
- Information regarding pro bono representation and other free or low-cost legal and related services available in the area.
Parents may request the information about mediation to be translated into the parents’ native language. If the native language spoken by the parents is spoken by more than 1% of the student population in the local school system, the IEP team shall provide the parent with the translated document within 30 days after the date of the request.
An employee of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) who is qualified and trained in effective mediation techniques conducts the mediation. The individual selected by OAH will not have a personal or professional conflict of interest.
- Mediation is at no cost to the parent or public agency responsible for the child’s early intervention or education, including the cost of a meeting with parents to encourage mediation.
- A request for mediation is made to the public agency responsible for the early intervention or education of the child and the OAH. Instructions to assist parents with filing the Request for Mediation Form are available from the public agency and on the MSDE website at www.marylandpublicschools.org. For further assistance, contact the public agency’s Special Education Office or the MSDE, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services, 410-767-7770.
- Parents or the public agency may be accompanied and advised by counsel during mediation.
- A mediation session will generally occur within 20 days of the receipt of a written request at a location convenient to parents and the public agency.
- Mediation sessions are closed proceedings. Discussions that occur during mediation must be confidential and cannot be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil action.
- Parents or the public agency may be asked to sign a confidentiality pledge before the start of the mediation.
- An agreement reached by the parties in the mediation must be set forth in written agreement that is enforceable in any State Court that has the authority to hear this type of case or in federal district court.
- A public agency may not use mediation to deny or delay the parent’s right to hearing on the parent’s due process complaint.
State Due Process
Facilitated IEP Meetings
The goal of facilitated IEP meetings is to help IEP team members communicate effectively and develop an educational program to meet the child’s need.
QACPS – Family Support Contacts
Ms. Jennifer Christian
Ms. Joeleen Smith
Supervisor of Special Education
The MSDE Family Support Section of the Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch, responds to parent inquiries, assists parents with navigating with Maryland’s early intervention and special education systems, and provides parents with school system resources.
Mr. Ken Hudock
Section Chief, Family Support Services
Maryland State Department of Education
Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services
410-767-0255 or email email@example.com