[30 Pa.B. 2785]
[Continued from previous Web Page]
(B) Physical development, including vision and hearing.
(C) Communication development.
(D) Social and emotional development.
(E) Adaptive development.
(ii) Substantial functional limitation in three or more of the following areas of major life activities:
(B) Receptive and expressive language.
(F) Capacity for independent living.
(G) Economic self-sufficiency.
(iii) The applicant's or recipient's conditions are likely to continue indefinitely for at least 12 months.
(b) The legal entity shall cooperate with the county assistance office in determining an infant, toddler and family's initial and continuing financial eligibility for waiver services.
§ 4226.24. Comprehensive child find system.
(a) The legal entity shall develop a child find system that will ensure that:
(1) All infants and toddlers in the geographical area of the legal entity who are eligible for services under this chapter are identified, located and evaluated.
(2) An effective method is developed and implemented to determine which children are receiving needed early intervention services, and which children are not receiving those services.
(b) The legal entity, with the assistance of the local interagency coordinating council, shall ensure that the child find system is coordinated with all other major efforts to locate and identify children which includes the following:
(1) The local preschool program authorized under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400--1485).
(2) The Maternal and Child Health Programs under Title V of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 601--701).
(3) The Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Programs under Title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 1396--1396v).
(4) The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 6000--6083).
(5) The Head Start Act (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 9831--9852).
(6) The Supplemental Security Income Programs under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 1381--1383f).
(c) The legal entity, with the assistance of the local interagency coordinating council, shall take steps to ensure that under the child find system:
(1) There will not be unnecessary duplication of effort by the various agencies involved in the local child find system.
(2) The legal entity will coordinate and make use of resources available through the local public agencies to implement the child find system in an effective manner.
(d) The child find system shall include procedures for use by primary referral sources for referring a child to the legal entity as follows:
(1) Evaluation and assessment, in accordance with §§ 4226.62 and 4226.63 (relating to MDE; and nondiscriminatory procedures).
(2) As appropriate, the provision of services, in accordance with § 4226.72(a) or § 4226.75 (relating to procedures for IFSP development, review and evaluation; and provision of services before evaluation and assessment are completed).
(e) The procedures required in subsection (b):
(1) Provide for an effective method of making referrals by primary referral sources.
(2) Ensure that referrals are made no more than 2 working days after a child has been identified.
(3) Provide referral sources under subsection (d), which includes the following:
(i) Hospitals, including prenatal and postnatal care facilities.
(iv) Day care programs.
(v) Local educational agencies.
(vi) Public health facilities.
(vii) Other social service agencies.
(viii) Other health care providers.
(f) Timelines to act on referrals are as follows:
(1) Once the legal entity receives a referral, it shall appoint a service coordinator as soon as possible.
(2) Within 45 days after it receives a referral, the legal entity shall do one of the following:
(i) Complete the evaluation activities in § 4226.62.
(ii) Hold an IFSP meeting, in accordance with § 4226.72.
(iii) Develop a plan for further assessment and tracking.
§ 4226.25. Initial screening.
(a) An initial screening shall be completed with written parental consent on each child referred to the legal entity to assist the child and family to access early intervention, to determine the existence of previous evaluations and to recommend the need for referral for an MDE to determine eligibility for early intervention.
(b) The initial screening, and the evaluation specified in § 4226.62 (relating to MDE) may be conducted simultaneously.
§ 4226.26. Purpose of initial screening.
The purpose of the initial screening shall be to determine the need for referral for an MDE to determine eligibility for early intervention services or tracking.
§ 4226.27. Content of screening.
The initial screening shall include a review of at least one of the following completed within 6 months prior to the child's referral to the legal entity and family reports of identified concerns:
(1) A review of written professional reports that are based upon systematic observation or informed clinical opinion, including reports from referring physicians, neonatal intensive care units, health care workers, a community-wide screening program or well baby clinic, early periodic screening diagnosis and treatment examination, social service departments, child protection programs, early intervention programs or any other source.
(2) Information about a child's developmental status obtained through a formalized screening process developed and conducted by the legal entity or an agency under contract with the legal entity.
§ 4226.28. Recommendations to parents.
As a result of the initial screening, the legal entity shall make one of the following recommendations to the child's parent.
(1) The child is recommended for referral to the MDE to confirm eligibility determination for early intervention, based on information contained in medical records, clinical opinion or recorded documentation and for providing information for the development of the IFSP.
(2) The child is recommended for referral to the MDE for further evaluation to determine eligibility for early intervention.
(3) The child is recommended for referral to the tracking system.
(4) The child is not eligible for early intervention or tracking services currently and the parents have been informed of their options for continued contact with the legal entity if the needs change.
§ 4226.29. Notice to parent.
The legal entity shall provide a written notice, in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication of the family, to the child's parent of the screening results as specified in § 4226.27 (relating to content of screening). If the parent is deaf or blind, or has no written language, the mode of communication shall be that normally used by the parent (such as sign language, braille or oral communication). The written information is translated orally or by other means to the parent in the parent's native language or other mode of communication.
§ 4226.30. At-risk children.
A child identified through the initial multidisciplinary evaluation is eligible for tracking if the child is identified in one of the population groups which include:
(1) Children whose birth weight is under 1,500 grams.
(2) Children cared for in neonatal intensive care units of hospitals.
(3) Children born to chemically dependent mothers and referred by a physician, health care provider or parent.
(4) Children who are seriously abused or neglected, as substantiated and referred by the county children and youth agency under 23 Pa.C.S. Chapter 63 (relating to Child Protective Services Law).
(5) Children with confirmed dangerous levels of lead poisoning as set by the Department of Health.
§ 4226.31. Tracking system.
The legal entity shall develop a tracking system to conduct or arrange for reevaluations for children identified in § 4226.30 (relating to at-risk children).
§ 4226.32. Contacting families.
(a) The legal entity shall contact families by telephone, in writing, or through a face-to-face meeting at least every 4 months after a child is referred to the tracking system, or until a parent requests no further contact by the legal entity.
(b) The contact shall offer reevaluation to determine the need and eligibility for early intervention services.
§ 4226.33. Monitoring responsibilities.
(a) The legal entity shall be responsible for monitoring early intervention services, including service coordination, for which the legal entity contracts. This includes monitoring of services provided in another county or state.
(b) Legal entity monitoring shall include the measurement and assurance of compliance with applicable sections of this chapter and of the quality of services provided.
(c) The legal entity shall complete monitoring of each early intervention service provider at least once every 12 months.
§ 4226.34. Community evaluations.
The legal entity, in consultation with the local interagency coordinating council and the legal entity advisory board, shall conduct an early intervention self-assessment review at least once in every 3 years. Family satisfaction with the program shall include:
(1) The legal entity advisory board and the local interagency coordinating council shall participate in the development and application of the community evaluation system.
(2) At least half of the persons who participate in the development and application of the community evaluation system shall be family members of children who are receiving, or have received, early intervention services.
§ 4226.35. Training.
Professional and paraprofessional personnel who serve on the interdisciplinary team or who provide direct care or service to a child shall be certified, licensed or registered, as approved by the Department of State, for the discipline that they are providing.
§ 4226.36. Preservice training.
The service coordinator, early interventionist and other early intervention personnel who work directly with the child, including personnel hired through contract, shall be trained before working with children or families in the following areas:
(1) Orientation to early intervention service system of the Commonwealth and family centered approaches, including the purpose and operation of the State and local interagency coordinating councils.
(2) The requirements of this chapter.
(3) The duties and responsibilities of their position.
(4) The methods for working with families (family centered approaches) to encourage and support family preference and involvement.
(5) The interrelated social, emotional, health, developmental and educational needs of children.
(6) The knowledge and use of available local and State community resources.
(7) The principles and methods applied in the provision of services in the natural environment.
(8) The fiscal operations of the early intervention service system, and its relationship to each individual involved and the specific funding systems.
(9) Training in fire safety, emergency evacuation, first aid techniques and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (for all staff), as well as for the early interventionist and other personnel who work directly with the child. The date of the completion of training shall be documented by the signature of a representative of the training entity. Documentation shall be retained in the agency's personnel file. Recertification will be required on or before expiration of specific certification.
§ 4226.37. Annual training.
(a) The service coordinator, early interventionist and other personnel who work directly with the child, including personnel hired through contract, shall have at least 24 hours of training annually, relevant to early intervention services, child development, community resources or services for children with disabilities. Specific areas shall include cultural competence, mediation, procedural safeguards and universal health procedures.
(b) The training specified in § 4226.36(9) (relating to preservice training) shall be renewed annually, unless there is a formal certification for first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation by a recognized health source valid for more than 1 year. If there is a formal certification by a recognized health source valid for more than 1 year, the time period specified on the certification applies.
(c) Records of all training shall be kept in the agency's personnel files.
§ 4226.38. Criminal history records check.
Under 23 Pa.C.S. Chapter 63 (relating to the Child Protective Services Law) each legal entity shall ensure that all staff persons who will have direct contact with children comply with 23 Pa.C.S. Chapter 63. Compliance includes the following:
(1) The staff persons who will have direct contact with children, including part-time and temporary staff persons who will have direct contact with children, shall submit, along with their employment application, a Pennsylvania criminal history record check.
(2) The staff persons who reside outside of this Commonwealth and who will have direct contact with children, including part-time and temporary staff persons who will have direct contact with children, shall submit, along with their employment application, a Pennsylvania criminal history check and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history record check.
(3) The Pennsylvania and FBI criminal history record checks shall have been completed no more that 1 year prior to the staff person's date of hire
§ 4226.39. Penalties for noncompliance.
(a) Noncompliance with this chapter, either as a result of legal entity action or inaction, or an early intervention service provider action or inaction, shall result in loss or delay of early intervention funding to the legal entity.
(b) Appeals related to loss of early intervention funding shall be made by the legal entity in accordance with 2 Pa.C.S. §§ 501--508 and 701--704 (relating to the Administrative Agency Law).
§ 4226.40. Reporting.
(a) The legal entity shall submit reports in a form and contain information as the Department may require.
(b) The legal entity is responsible for keeping records and affording access to those records as the Department may find necessary to assure compliance with the requirements of this part, the correctness and verification of reports and the proper disbursement of funds provided under this chapter.
§ 4226.41. Traditionally underserved groups.
The legal entity shall ensure that:
(1) Traditionally underserved groups, including minority, low-income and rural families, are provided the opportunity to be active participants involved in local interagency coordinating councils and parent advisory groups. Traditionally underserved groups will also be provided the opportunity to participate in the planning, development of a plan of services for their eligible child and implementation of the services.
(2) Families have access to culturally competent services within their local geographical areas.
§ 4226.42. Local interagency coordinating council.
The legal entity shall ensure that the following conditions are met:
(1) The local interagency coordinating councils are established and maintained, which shall include parents and private providers.
(2) The local interagency coordinating councils are authorized to advise and comment on the development of local interagency agreements.
(3) The local interagency coordinating councils communicate directly with the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Public Welfare and the State Interagency Coordinating Council regarding the local interagency agreement and any other matters pertaining to this part.
§ 4226.43. Confidentiality of information.
Each legal entity shall ensure the protection of a personally identifiable information collected, used or maintained under this chapter, including the right of parents to written notice of and written consent to the exchange of this information among agencies consistent with Federal and State law.
§ 4226.51. Service coordination.
Service coordination shall include activities carried out by a service coordinator to meet the developmental needs of the child and the family's concerns, priorities and resources relating to enhancing the child's development.
§ 4226.52. Provision of service coordination.
(a) At the point of referral of the child and family to early intervention, the legal entity, either directly or through subcontract, shall immediately provide the services of a service coordinator to the family.
(b) Each eligible child and the child's family shall be provided with one service coordinator who is responsible for coordinating all services across agency lines, and serving as the single point of contact in helping parents to obtain the services and assistance they need.
§ 4226.53. Activities.
Service coordination is an active, ongoing process that involves the following:
(1) Coordinating the completion of initial screenings, evaluations, tracking, IFSP development and IFSP implementation.
(2) Assisting parents of eligible children in gaining access to the early intervention services and other services identified in the IFSP.
(3) Coordinating, facilitating and monitoring the timely delivery of early intervention services.
(4) Facilitating communication with and between the family and the early intervention service provider.
(5) Informing the family of the availability of advocacy services.
(6) Assisting the family in arranging for the child to receive medical and health services, if the services are necessary. Coordinating the provision of early intervention services and other services (such as medical services for other than diagnostic and evaluation purposes) that the child needs or is being provided.
(7) Offering the family opportunities and support for the child to participate in community activities with other children.
(8) Informing the family of appropriate community resources.
(9) Facilitating the development of a transition plan as part of the IFSP.
§ 4226.54. Requirements and qualifications.
(a) A minimum of one service coordinator intervention service shall be employed directly or through subcontract by the legal entity.
(b) A service coordinator is responsible for the activities specified in § 4226.53 (relating to activities).
(c) A service coordinator shall have one of the following groups of qualifications:
(1) A bachelor's degree or above from an accredited college or university and 1 years' work or volunteer experience working directly with children, families or people with disabilities, or in counseling, management or supervision.
(2) An associate's degree, or 60 credit hours, from an accredited college or university and 3 years' work or volunteer experience working directly with children, families or people with disabilities, or in counseling, management or supervision.
(3) Certification by the Civil Service Commission as meeting the qualifications of a Caseworker 2 or 3 classification.
§ 4226.55. Early interventionist.
An early interventionist is responsible for the following:
(1) Participating in the development of the child's IFSP.
(2) Implementing the child's IFSP directly or by supervising the implementation of services provided by other early intervention personnel.
(3) Working with the family to assure that the needs of the child and family are met.
(4) Completing written communication reviews and 6-month IFSP reviews in accordance with this chapter.
§ 4226.56. Requirements and qualifications.
(a) An early interventionist shall have one of the following groups of qualifications:
(1) A bachelor's degree or above from an accredited college or university and 1 year work or volunteer experience working directly with children, families or people with disabilities or in counseling.
(2) An associate's degree, or 60 credit hours, from an accredited college or university and 3 years work or volunteer experience working directly with children, families or people with disabilities or in counseling.
(b) An early interventionist shall obtain a minimum of 6 credit hours annually in the field of infant and toddler developmental services, early childhood services, or any specific areas that relate to infant and child disabilities.
§ 4226.57. Effective date of personnel qualifications.
Sections 4226.54(c) and 4226.56(a) (relating to requirements and qualifications) apply to service coordinators and early interventionist hired or promoted after _____ (Editor's Note: The blank refers to the effective date or adoption of this proposal.).
EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
§ 4226.61. Parental consent.
(a) Written consent from the child's parent shall be obtained prior to:
(1) Conducting the initial evaluation and assessment of a child under § 4226.62 (relating to MDE).
(2) Initiating the provision of early intervention services. See § 4226.72(e) (relating to procedures for IFSP development, review and evaluation).
(b) If consent is not given, the legal entity shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the parent:
(1) Is fully aware of the nature of the evaluation and services that would be available.
(2) Understands that the child will not be able to receive the evaluation and assessment or services unless consent is given.
§ 4226.62. MDE.
(a) Requirements for MDE. The legal entity shall ensure that the following conditions are met:
(1) The performance of a timely, comprehensive, MDE of each child under 3 years of age, referred for evaluation, including assessment activities related to the child and the child's family.
(2) The initial MDE is conducted by personnel independent of service provision.
(3) The requirements of this section are implemented by all affected contracted agencies and service providers.
(b) Evaluation and assessment of the child.
(1) The evaluation and assessment of each child shall:
(i) Be conducted by personnel trained to utilize evaluation and assessment methods and procedures.
(ii) Be based on informed clinical opinion.
(iii) Include the following:
(A) A review of pertinent records related to the child's current health status and medical history.
(B) An evaluation of the child's level of functioning in each of the following developmental areas:
(I) Cognitive development.
(II) Physical development, including vision and hearing.
(III) Communication development.
(IV) Social and emotional development.
(V) Adaptive development.
(C) An assessment of the unique needs of the child in terms of each of the developmental areas in subparagraph (ii), including the identification of services appropriate to meet those needs.
(2) The annual MDE will be composed of the family, service coordinator, anyone whom the parent would like to invite and at least one other professional who meets State approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration or other comparable requirements, if applicable, in which the person is providing services.
(c) Family assessment.
(1) Family assessment shall be a family-directed assessment of the resources, priorities and concerns of the family and the identification of the supports and services necessary to enhance the family's capacity to meet the developmental needs of the infant and toddler.
(2) An assessment shall be voluntary on the part of the family.
(3) If an assessment of the family is carried out, the assessment shall:
(i) Be conducted by personnel trained to utilize assessment methods and procedures.
(ii) Be based on information provided by the family through a personal interview.
(iii) Incorporate the family's description of its resources, priorities and concerns related to enhancing the child's development.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the evaluation and initial assessment of each child (including the family assessment) shall be completed within the 45-day time period.
(2) The legal entity shall develop procedures to ensure that in the event of exceptional circumstances that make it impossible to complete the evaluation and assessment within 45 days (for example, if a child is ill), the county will do the following:
(i) Document those circumstances.
(ii) Develop and implement an interim IFSP consistent with § 4226.75 (relating to provision of services before evaluation and assessment are completed).
§ 4226.63. Nondiscriminatory procedures.
Each legal entity shall adopt nondiscriminatory evaluation and assessment procedures. The procedures for the evaluation and assessment of children and families under this chapter shall ensure, at a minimum, that the following conditions are met:
(1) Tests and other evaluation materials and procedures are administered in the native language of the parents or other mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
(2) Assessment and evaluation procedures and materials that are used are selected and administered so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory.
(3) No single procedure is used as the sole criterion for determining a child's eligibility under this chapter.
(4) Evaluations and assessments are conducted by qualified personnel.
§ 4226.71. General.
(a) Each legal entity shall adopt policies and procedures regarding IFSPs.
(b) As used in this chapter, the term ''IFSP'' means a written plan for providing early intervention services to a child eligible under this chapter and the child's family. The plan shall:
(1) Be developed in accordance with §§ 4226.72 and 4226.73 (relating to procedures for IFSP development, review and evaluation; and participants in IFSP meetings and periodic reviews).
(2) Be based on the evaluation and assessment described in § 4226.62 (relating to MDE).
(3) Include the matters specified in § 4226.62.
(4) Be developed prior to funding option decisions.
(c) The legal entity shall ensure that an IFSP is developed and implemented for each eligible child.
§ 4226.72. Procedures for IFSP development, review and evaluation.
(a) For a child who has been evaluated for the first time and determined to be eligible, a meeting to develop the initial IFSP shall be conducted within the 45-day time period in § 4226.24(f) (relating to comprehensive child find system).
(b) The IFSP shall be evaluated once a year and the family shall be provided a review of the plan at 6-month intervals, or more often based on infant or toddler and family needs. The review may be carried out by a meeting or by another means that is acceptable to the parents and other participants. The review shall include:
(1) The degree to which progress toward achieving the outcomes is being made.
(2) Whether modification or revision of the outcomes or services is necessary.
(c) A meeting shall be conducted on at least an annual basis to evaluate the IFSP for a child and the child's family, and, as appropriate, to revise its provisions. The results of current evaluations conducted under § 4226.62(c) (relating to MDE), and other information available from the ongoing assessment of the child and family, shall be used in determining what services are needed and will be provided.
(d) IFSP meetings shall be conducted as follows:
(1) In settings and at times that are convenient to families.
(2) In the native language of the family or other mode of communication used by the family, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. If the parent is deaf or blind, or has no written language, the mode of communication shall be that normally used by the parent (sign language, braille or oral communication).
(3) Meeting arrangements shall be made with, and written notice provided to, the family and other participants early enough before the meeting date to ensure that they will be able to attend.
(e) The contents of the IFSP shall be fully explained to the parents and informed written consent from the parents shall be obtained prior to the provision of early intervention services described in the plan. If the parents do not provide consent with respect to a particular early intervention service or withdraw consent after first providing it, that service may not be provided. The early intervention services to which parental consent is obtained shall be provided.
§ 4226.73. Participants in IFSP meetings and periodic reviews.
(a) Each initial meeting and each annual meeting to evaluate the IFSP shall include the following participants:
(1) The parents of the child.
(2) Other family members, as requested by the parent, if feasible to do so.
(3) An advocate or person outside of the family, if the parent requests that the person participate.
(4) The service coordinator who has been working with the family since the initial referral of the child for evaluation, or who has been designated by the legal entity to be responsible for implementation of the IFSP.
(5) Persons directly involved in conducting the evaluations and assessments in § 4226.62 (relating to MDE).
(6) Persons who will be providing services to the child or family, as appropriate.
(b) If a person listed in subsection (a)(5) is unable to attend a meeting, arrangements shall be made for the person's involvement through other means, including one or more of the following:
(1) Participating in a telephone conference call.
(2) Having a knowledgeable authorized representative attend the meeting.
(3) Making pertinent records available at the meeting.
(c) Each periodic review shall provide for the participation of persons in subsection (a)(1)--(5). If conditions warrant, provisions shall be made for the participation of other representatives identified in subsection (a).
§ 4226.74. Content of IFSP
The IFSP shall be in writing and the standardized formats will contain:
(1) Information about the child's status.
(i) A statement of the child's present levels of physical development (including vision, hearing and health status), cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, and adaptive development, based on objective criteria.
(ii) The statement in subparagraph (i) shall be based on professionally acceptable objective criteria.
(2) Family information. A statement of the family's resources, priorities and concerns related to enhancing the development of the family's infant or toddler with a disability.
(3) Outcomes. A statement of the major outcomes expected to be achieved for the infant or toddler and the family, and the criteria, procedures, and timeliness used to determine:
(i) The degree to which progress toward achieving the outcomes is being made.
(ii) Whether modifications or revisions of the outcomes or services are necessary.
(4) Early intervention services.
(i) A statement of the specific early intervention services necessary to meet the unique needs of the infant or toddler and the family, including the frequency, intensity and method of delivering the services.
(ii) Early intervention services shall be provided by qualified personnel, including the following:
(B) Early interventionist.
(C) Family therapists.
(F) Occupational therapists.
(G) Orientation and mobility specialists.
(H) Pediatricians and other physicians.
(I) Physical therapists.
(K) Service coordinator.
(L) Social workers.
(M) Special educators.
(N) Speech and language pathologists.
(iii) As used in this section the following apply:
(A) ''Frequency'' and ''intensity'' are the number of days or sessions that a service will be provided, the length of time the service is provided during each session, and whether the service is provided on an individual or group basis.
(B) ''Method'' is how a service is provided.
(iv) ''Location'' is the actual place where a service will be provided.
(5) Natural environments. A statement of the natural environments in which early intervention services shall appropriately be provided, including a justification of the extent, if any, to which the services will not be provided in a natural environment.
(6) Other services.
(i) The IFSP shall include:
(A) Medical and other services that the child needs, but that are not required under this chapter.
(B) The funding sources to be used in paying for those services or the steps that will be taken to secure those services through public or private sources.
(ii) The requirement in subparagraph (i) does not apply to routine medical services (for example, immunizations and ''well-baby'' care), unless a child needs those services and the services are not otherwise available or being provided.
(7) Dates; duration of services. The IFSP shall include the following:
(i) The projected dates for initiation of the services in paragraph (4) as soon as possible after the IFSP meetings described in § 4226.72 (relating to procedures for IFSP development, review and evaluation).
(ii) The anticipated duration of those services.
(8) Service coordinator. The identification of the service coordinator from the profession most immediately relevant to the infant's or toddler's or family's needs (or who is otherwise qualified to carry out all applicable responsibilities under this chapter), who will be responsible for the implementation of the IFSP and coordination with other agencies and persons.
(9) Transition from early intervention services.
(i) The following steps shall be taken to support the transition of the child to meet the following requirements:
(A) Ensure a smooth transition for toddlers receiving early intervention services under this chapter to preschool or other appropriate services, including a description of how the following conditions will be met:
(I) The families of toddlers will be included in the transition plans required by clause (C).
(II) The legal entity shall:
(-a-) Notify the local educational agency for the area in which the child resides that the child will shortly reach the age of eligibility for preschool services under Part B, of IDEA as determined in accordance with State law.
(-b-) In the case of a child who may be eligible for preschool services, with the approval of the family of the child, convene a conference among the legal entity, the family, and the local educational agency at least 90 days (and at the discretion of all of the parties, up to 6 months) before the child is eligible for the preschool services, to discuss services that the child may receive.
(-c-) In the case of a child who may not be eligible for preschool services, with the approval of the family, make reasonable efforts to convene a conference among the legal entity, the family, and providers of other appropriate services for children who are not eligible for preschool services to discuss the services the child may receive.
(B) Review the child's program options for the period from the child's 23rd birthday through the remainder of the school year.
(C) Establish a transition plan.
(ii) The local educational agency, which is responsible for providing preschool programs under the Early Intervention Services System Act (11 P. S. §§ 875-101--875-502), and the legal entity providing early intervention programs for infants and toddlers will develop interagency agreements between the two agencies to ensure coordination on transition matters.
§ 4226.75. Provision of services before evaluation and assessment are completed.
Early intervention services for an eligible child and the child's family may commence before the completion of the evaluation and assessment in § 4226.62 (relating to MDE), if the following conditions are met:
(1) Parental consent is obtained.
(2) An interim IFSP is developed that includes the following:
(i) The name of the service coordinator who will be responsible, consistent with § 4226.74(7) (relating to content of IFSP), for implementation of the interim IFSP and coordination with other agencies and persons.
(ii) The early intervention services that have been determined to be needed immediately by the child and the child's family.
(3) The evaluation and assessment are completed within the time period required in § 4226.62(d).
§ 4226.91. General responsibility of legal entity for procedural safeguards.
A legal entity is responsible for the following:
(1) Adopting procedural safeguards that shall include, at a minimum, conflict resolution, mediation and administrative hearings as set forth in this chapter.
(2) Ensuring effective implementation of the safeguards by providers of early intervention services.
§ 4226.92. Notice of rights.
The legal entity shall inform parents of their right to request conflict resolution, mediation or an administrative hearing as described in this chapter.
§ 4226.93. Conflict resolution.
The legal entity shall establish an internal system of conflict resolution to facilitate the prompt, amicable resolution of disagreements and conflicts among parents, legal entities, agencies or other parties. Conflict resolution shall be a process whereby parents, legal entity staff and providers, as appropriate, or other representatives, may request a meeting to discuss and resolve issues relating to the provision of services to an infant or toddler eligible for services under this chapter. The conflict resolution process shall ensure that the following are met:
(1) Parents can request conflict resolution either orally or in writing.
(2) When a parental request for mediation under § 4226.94 (relating to mediation) or a request for an impartial administrative hearing under § 4226.100 (relating to administrative resolution of individual child complaints by an impartial decisionmaker) is received, a meeting with the parents and the legal entity administrator or designee shall be held, unless the parents do not agree to participate, within 7-calendar days following a parental request. This meeting may not delay the processing of parental requests for mediation or an impartial hearing.
(3) When a resolution or agreement is reached at the meeting, the IFSP or other appropriate documents shall be revised.
(4) If the conflict resolution meeting is unsuccessful, all other due process rights and procedures continue to be available.
(5) The conflict resolution process will not impede or deny other child and family rights under this chapter.
§ 4226.94. Mediation.
(a) The legal entity shall adopt procedures that afford a party who presents a complaint with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or the placement of the child, or the provision of appropriate early intervention services, the opportunity to resolve disputes through a mediation process, which, at a minimum, shall be available whenever a hearing is requested under § 4226.100 (relating to administrative resolution of individual child complaints by an impartial decisionmaker).
(b) The procedures shall ensure that the mediation process is:
(1) Voluntary on the part of the parents.
(2) Not used to deny or delay a parent's right to a due process hearing under §§ 4226.100--4226.104, or to deny other rights afforded under this chapter.
(3) Conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effective mediation techniques.
(c) The legal entity shall establish procedures whereby parents who choose not to use the mediation process may request a meeting, at a time and location convenient to the parents, unless the parents do not agree to participate, with a disinterested party who is under contract with one of the following:
(1) A parent training and information center or community parent resource center.
(2) An alternative dispute resolution entity to encourage the use, and explain the benefits, of the mediation process to the parents.
(d) Each session in the mediation process shall be scheduled in a timely manner and shall be held in a location that is convenient to the parties to the dispute.
(e) An agreement reached by the parties to the dispute in the mediation process shall be set forth in a written mediation agreement.
(f) Discussions that occur during the mediation process shall be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearings or civil proceedings and the parties to the mediation process may be required to sign a confidentiality pledge prior to the commencement of this process.
§ 4226.95. Consent and native language information.
(a) The following requirements apply for consent from parents:
(1) The parent shall be fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought, in the parent's native language or other mode of communication.
(2) The parent shall be informed and agree in writing to the carrying out of the activity for which consent is sought, and the consent shall describe that activity and list the records (if any) that will be released and to whom.
(3) The parent shall be informed that the granting of consent is voluntary on the part of the parent and may be revoked at any time.
(b) Native language, when used with reference to persons of limited English proficiency, is the language or mode of communication normally used by the parent of an eligible child.
§ 4226.96. Opportunity to examine records.
In accordance with the confidentiality procedures in Federal regulations at 34 CFR 300.560--300.576 (relating to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act--FERPA), the parents of a child eligible under this chapter shall be afforded the opportunity to inspect and review records relating to evaluations and assessments, eligibility determinations, development and implementation of IFSPs, individual complaints dealing with the child, and any other records about the child and the child's family.
§ 4226.97. Prior notice; native language.
(a) Written prior notice shall be given to the parents of a child eligible under this chapter before a legal entity proposes, or refuses, to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or placement of the child, or the provision of appropriate early intervention services to the child and the child's family.
(b) The notice shall be in sufficient detail to inform the parents about the following:
(1) The action that is being proposed or refused.
(2) The reasons for taking the action.
(3) The procedural safeguards that are available under this chapter.
(c) The notice shall be:
(1) Written in language understandable to the general public.
(2) Provided in the native language of the parents, unless it is not feasible to do so.
(d) If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent is not a written language, the legal entity shall take steps to ensure that:
(1) The notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent in the parent's native language or other mode of communication.
(2) The parent understands the notice.
(3) There is written evidence that the requirements of this subsection have been met.
(e) If a parent is deaf or blind, or has no written language, the mode of communication shall be that normally used by the parent (such as sign language, braille or oral communication).
§ 4226.98. Parent consent.
(a) Written parental consent shall be obtained on the standardized parents right agreement before:
(1) Conducting the initial evaluation and assessment of a child under § 4226.62 (relating to MDE).
(2) Initiating the provision of early intervention services under § 4226.72(e) (relating to procedures for IFSP development, review and evaluation).
(b) If consent is not given, the legal entity shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the parent:
(1) Is fully aware of the nature of the evaluation and assessment or the services that would be available.
(2) Understands that the child will not be able to receive the evaluation and assessment or services unless consent is given.
§ 4226.99. Parental right to decline service.
The parents of a child eligible under this chapter may determine whether they, their child, or other family members will accept or decline an early intervention service and may decline a service after first accepting it, without jeopardizing other early intervention services provided under this chapter.
§ 4226.100. Administrative resolution of individual child complaints by an impartial decisionmaker.
Each legal entity shall implement procedures for the timely administrative resolution of individual child complaints by parents concerning any of the matters in § 4226.97(a) (relating to prior notice; native language).
§ 4226.101. Parent rights in administrative proceedings.
(a) Each legal entity shall ensure that the parents of children eligible under this chapter are afforded the rights in subsection (b) in administrative proceedings carried out under § 4226.100 (relating to administrative resolution of individual child complaints by an impartial decisionmaker).
(b) A parent involved in an administrative proceeding has the following rights:
(1) To be accompanied and advised by counsel and by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to early intervention services for children eligible under this chapter.
(2) To present evidence and confront, cross-examine and compel the attendance of witnesses.
(3) To prohibit the introduction of any evidence at the proceeding that has not been disclosed to the parent at least 5 days before the proceeding.
(4) To obtain a written or electronic verbatim transcription of the proceeding.
(5) To obtain written findings of fact and decisions.
§ 4226.102. Impartial hearing officer.
(a) The legal entity shall ensure that the person appointed to implement the administrative resolution process meets the following:
(1) Is not an employe of an agency or other entity involved in the provision of early intervention services or care of the child.
(2) Does not have a personal or professional interest that would conflict with the person's objectivity in conducting the hearing and rendering a decision.
(b) A person who otherwise qualifies under this section tion is not an employe of an agency solely because the person is paid by the agency to implement the administrative resolution process.
§ 4226.103. Convenience of proceedings; timelines.
A proceeding for implementing the administrative resolution process shall be carried out at a time and place that is reasonably convenient to the parents.
§ 4226.104. Status of a child during proceedings.
(a) During the pendency of a proceeding involving a complaint under this chapter, unless the legal entity and parents of a child otherwise agree, the child shall continue to receive the early intervention services currently being provided.
(b) If the complaint involves an application for initial services under this chapter, the child shall receive those services that are not in dispute.
(c) Parents have the right to accept or decline services. The rejection of one service does not jeopardize other early intervention services or activities. During a child/family resolution process the services or activities not in dispute will be initiated or continued.
§ 4226.105. Surrogate parents.
(a) Each legal entity shall ensure that the rights of children eligible under this chapter are protected if one of the following apply:
(1) A parent, as defined in § 4226.5 (relating to definitions), cannot be identified.
(2) The legal entity, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the whereabouts of a parent.
(3) The child is in the legal custody of the county children and youth agency and the birth parents are ''unknown or unavailable,'' which includes situations when the birth parents are deceased or parental rights have been terminated.
(b) The duty of the legal entity under subsection (a) includes the assignment of an individual to act as a surrogate for the parent. This shall include a method for:
(1) Determining whether a child needs a surrogate parent.
(2) Assigning a surrogate parent to the child.
(c) The legal entity shall select a surrogate parent.
(d) The legal entity shall ensure that a person selected as a surrogate parent:
(1) Has no interest that conflicts with the interests of the child the surrogate represents.
(2) Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child.
(3) Is not an employe of an agency involved in the provision of early intervention or other services to the child.
(e) A person who otherwise qualifies to be a surrogate parent under subsection (d) is not an employe solely because the surrogate is paid by a public agency to serve as a surrogate parent.
(f) A foster parent qualifies under this part if the following apply:
(1) The natural parents' authority to make early intervention or educational decisions on the child's behalf has been relinquished under State law.
(2) The county children and youth agency has been given the custody of the child and approves the recommendation that the foster parent would be the most appropriate surrogate parent.
(3) The foster parent has an ongoing, long-term parental relationship with the child.
(4) The foster parent is willing to participate in making early intervention or educational decisions on the child's behalf.
(5) The foster parent has no interest that would conflict with the interests of the child.
(g) A surrogate parent may represent a child in all matters related to the following:
(1) The evaluation and assessment of the child.
(2) Development and implementation of the child's IFSPs, including annual evaluations and periodic reviews.
(3) The ongoing provision of early intervention services to the child.
(4) Other rights established under this chapter.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 00-941. Filed for public inspection June 2, 2000, 9:00 a.m.]
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