CHILD FIND Obligation/Early Childhood Child Find Process
Coordinator: Kelly Horning
Phone: (719) 486-6920
Under the federal IDEA law, each school district has an obligation to engage in Child Find, a process for identifying, locating, and evaluating all children with disabilities residing in the school district’s jurisdiction. This means that each district will work with families and community entities to locate and make an initial identification of any child within the district’s boundaries who is age 0 through 2 with a life impacting disability or who is age 3 through 21 who may have a disability that would have an educational impact for that child. It is important to understand that the process can look different depending on the age of the child.
The statement below is specific to Early Childhood Child Find, addressing the needs of children ages 0–5 who are not attending district public preschools.
The process for identifying the needs of children 6-21 years of age and children ages 3-5 who are enrolled in a district preschool is different from what is described below.
EARLY CHILDHOOD CHILD FIND FOR AGES 0–5
The Lake County School District Early Childhood Child Find Program provides developmental screening and evaluation for children ages 0 through 5 and/or kindergarten entry age who are not enrolled in a district preschool program. A variety of developmental areas are reviewed, including problem solving and cognition, physical functioning, hearing and vision, speech and language, and social and emotional development.
For children ages 0 through 5 who are not enrolled in district public preschools, a developmental screening may be conducted by the Child Find Coordinator and/or appropriate district or community early childhood council members with parental permission for a screening and at no cost to parents.
If the screening reveals concerns for a child 0–5 years of age who needs further evaluation, the district Early Childhood Child Find team, with parental permission for evaluation, will conduct a full evaluation of the child’s development. Once the Early Childhood Child Find evaluation team, including the parents, has gathered sufficient information, the team will initiate a process to determine the child’s eligibility for early intervention or district public preschool special education services. The evaluation is provided at no cost to the parents.
Once the school district has completed the evaluation under Early Childhood Child Find, the Early Intervention determination of eligibility and the services for children age 0 through 2 are provided by entities known as Community Centered Boards (CCBs), who are under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Human Services. The plan for the early intervention provided by the CCB is an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). The services are provided in the family’s home by staff hired by the CCB. The CCB that will make the eligibility determination and develop the plans for 0 through 2 year olds in this district is Mountain Valley Developmental Services. For children 0 through 2 years of age, the timeline for completion of the initial screening, evaluation, and IFSP is 45 days from the time you (or another referral source) make(s) it known to the district’s Early Childhood Child Find Coordinator that there is a concern for the child.
When children are 3 through 5 years old, the process and the services are handled a little differently. The determination of eligibility and the plan for services are both handled by the District Early Childhood Child Find team and Early Childhood Staff. The plan for 3 through 5 year olds is called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is developed and services can begin IF the parents are willing to enroll their child in the district public preschool in order to receive the specially designed services. For children ages 3 through 5, the district has 60 days from the district’s Early Childhood Child Find Coordinator’s receipt of parental consent for evaluation to complete an evaluation and 90 days from the receipt of parental consent for evaluation to complete and implement an IEP. It is important for parents to understand that IEP services are NOT available to children enrolled by parents in private preschools or kindergartens in the State of Colorado.
**Parents have the right at any time during the Child Find process to request a multi-disciplinary evaluation. Please note: if the request for an evaluation appears unwarranted, the district Child Find team can provide the parent with a prior written notice (PWN) and decline to do the evaluation. The intent of the PWN option is to assure that the requests for evaluation are legitimate and not frivolous.
Children may be referred at any time of year for an eligibility determination for early intervention (ages 0 through 2) or preschool special education services (ages 3 through 5) by contacting the Early Childhood Child Find Coordinator.
Kelly Horning, Early Childhood Child Find Coordinator
Phone: (719) 486-6920
We look forward to working with our parents and children to create a positive future for them!