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January 2016

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Children with Special Educational Needs

  • This clinical report provides the pediatric health care provider with a summary of key components of the most recent version of IDEA. Guidance is also provided to ensure that every child in need receives the Early Intervention and special education services to which he or she is entitled. Of particular interest is the focus on the entitlement to participate in the nonacademic and extracurricular activities available to children without disabilities. Also included is a discussion on various types of transition through a student’s academic career and the importance of making sure that timely placements are facilitated to avoid achievement gaps.

5 Epiphanies for Reaching the Unreachable Learner

  • A seasoned teacher meets his match with a behaviorally challenged student whom all the rest of the teachers have given up on, and who want him to be placed in an alternative school. His epiphanies (it’s not his fault, I can’t relate to him, he’s not mad at me, fair is not always equal, and thank him every day) hold true for many students with complex trauma. This extraordinary teacher is able to see many of the behaviors as a sign of life-saving resilience in the face of so many hardships.

States Must Now Track the Educational Progress of Foster Youth

  • The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, signed on December 10, 2015, by President Barack Obama, requires states to track achievement test and graduation data for homeless and foster youth as separate subgroups. Called the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new law will allow foster youth to stay in the same school if they change residences and requires states to develop a plan to transport the students to school after they move. It also requires schools to enroll foster youth immediately after a school move, and a specific individual must be designated as a liaison or point person for foster youth.

Office of the Child Advocate Annual Report Fiscal Year 2015

  • The Child Advocate, Gail Garinger, is leaving her post after seven years. She wrote an emotional summary of her work and last year’s DCF challenges.
    “… We must do better, if we want our children to be safe and to thrive. This is a collective responsibility for all citizens. Even the best organized and managed child-serving agency will fail if its staff is overwhelmed. It is the responsibility of the governor and the legislature to ensure that sufficient resources are available. It is the responsibility of doctors, child care workers, teachers, ministers, and other professionals who are mandated to report child abuse and neglect when they see it. It is the responsibility of judges who face the daunting task of responding to families in crisis, to abused or neglected children, and to parents, foster parents, and guardians…it is my responsibility as Child Advocate to call upon agencies, elected officials, mandated reporters, and judges to place the interests of children above the preferences and desires of adults. Our children are our most important citizens because we place in them our hopes for a better future.”

Compendium of Parenting Interventions

  •  This complete, evidence-based guide for educators and parents allows the reader to compare parenting interventions and includes research, profiles and outcomes for each of the interventions. Positive parent-child relationships set the stage for children’s success in school and in life, and create resiliency in the face of hardship and adversity. This publication helps the reader make informed judgments about which parenting interventions to use to improve child outcomes.

What Young People Need to Thrive: Leveraging the Strengthening Families Act to Promote Normalcy

  • This brief from the Annie E. Casey Foundation allows foster youth to express their valuable thoughts on what they wish for, the barriers they face and their recommendations for living “normal” lives within the child welfare system. Some of the key insight include: a lack of decision-making opportunities, heightened scrutiny, lack of funds and transportation, and the stigma of foster care are major concerns; peer relationships are one of the most important achievements for foster youth; and being a normal adolescent means trying out new things and sometimes making mistakes. The report suggests some policy recommendations that can move these ideals forward, including a state-sponsored Foster Youth Bill of Rights, which includes the ability to lead “normal” lives. See Massachusetts’s Bill of Rights: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dcf/foster-child-rights.pdf