The Law Offices of Bonnie Z. Yates is dedicated to helping your child obtain the educational services to which he/she is entitled. Our attorneys can assist you with IEP/IPP meetings, Regional Center eligibility services, informal dispute resolution and fair hearings, mediation and settlement, or private insurance coverage for autism treatment. Our office employs a team approach, working together to secure your child’s educational rights. In addition, our office also assists non-public schools and agencies with their legal needs, including certifications and audits, master contracts, and insurance coverage.
A Due Process Hearing is hearing before an administrative law judge to resolve a dispute between the family of a disabled student and the school district, over what program and services the child needs. It may involve documentary evidence, testimony by parties and expert witnesses, and formal briefs and pleadings.
The judge then renders a decision and orders what both parties must do. By comparison, when a case is resolved through settlement, the parties retain control over the terms of the compromise.
Just as every child’s needs are unique, so too are their cases. Due process retainers are determined individually, and are dependent on the projected amount of time that will be required to carry out the hearing, including preparation of evidence, witness preparation, etc., as well as the likelihood of success at hearing.
The answer to this has to do with attorneys’ fees. IDEA provides that the parent is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees if s/he prevails at hearing. In addition, going to hearing is very expensive for the District even if it wins, as it still has to pay for its own attorney’s work on the case. Also, District personnel find litigation disruptive and stressful. Therefore, we find that Districts often can be prevailed upon to settle a case if the attorney pulls out “all the stops” and makes it clear that s/he is prepared to do whatever is necessary. Obviously, a prompt settlement is extremely desirable, as parents usually do not enjoy litigation any more than the District does, and, more importantly, litigation delays the receipt of the child’s services.
ESY stands for extended school year services, or, school services that are available for special education students during school breaks and holidays. A student’s IEP must designate whether or not the student will receive ESY services. For all special needs students who need ESY, the school district has to offer it, or make sure that the student can attend ESY in another district or a non-public school.
ESY is not the same as summer school, which is available to all students and may or may not happen, at the school district’s discretion. Still, for special needs students who are in inclusion (“mainstreamed”), placement in the district’s summer school can be part of an ESY program. For student’s in year-round programs, ESY takes place during “off-calendar” periods.
Benefits may be available to you. Appeals can be extremely time sensitive in nature, so contacting an attorney immediately is your best option. An attorney can review your policy to determine what your benefits are and help you through the appeal process. To speak to an attorney about your legal rights, fill out our Intake Form - Insurance.
No. That would be considered discrimination.
In order for an attorney to assist you, you will need a complete copy (not a summary) of your insurance policy or Evidence of Coverage. You will also need any claims you have filed, denial letters you have received, and any additional correspondence to or from your insurance company regarding the claims in question. You will also be asked to fill out our Intake Form - Insurance with additional information.
If you get your insurance through your employer, your human resources department may have your Evidence of Coverage booklet. If they do not, the best way to get a copy of your policy is to contact your insurance company directly. Making the request in writing is a good idea. Your insurer is required by law to provide you with a copy of your policy.
If the District offers an unsatisfactory placement, we recommend utilizing mediation or informal dispute resolution to secure a favorable outcome for your child. Mediation with the District is an informal process where both sides can constructively present their needs and options.
A more complete perspective from both sides can often reveal a mutually satisfying placement that encompasses that best outcome for your child.
Informal dispute resolution often helps in rebuilding trust between the parents and the District, a valuable relationship your child needs that requires trust and open communication.
The Regional Centers have a duty to maximize an eligible child’s developmental success. An Individual Program Plan, or “IPP” must be specially tailored to help each regional center consumer achieve their goals.
The process of developing a child’s IPP should involve parents, service providers and professionals. Too often, Regional Centers make “take it or leave it” offers of minimal supports and services. Much like at the IEP team meeting, having effective advocacy at your IPP meeting can lay the groundwork for securing from the Regional Center a wide range of services that your child may need.