TCOE program specializes in students with disabilities

The Tulare County Office of Education implements the Child Find program to help special needs students find the educational programs to succeed

TULARE COUNTY – The Child Find program was set in place to help students with special educational needs, regardless of case severity or even citizenship status.

The Tulare County Office of Education’s (TCOE) Special Services is now running their yearly campaign for the Child Find Program, which is a resource available to parents who feel their child may need special education options. The program not only assesses students to measure the extent of their special educational needs, but also provides different programs and courses the students can benefit from. There are many laws that protect individuals with both physical and mental disabilities, and Child Find is among them. It is part of a federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and has been serving communities since 1975, according to TCOE’s Melinda Furtado.

“The goal of Child Find is to make sure that every child in Tulare County attends school and receives appropriate services,” TCOE stated in the press release.

Special education services offered in Tulare County are made available from birth until 21 years old. The services that will be offered or referred to in Child Find are for “children with autism, blindness or vision impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, speech disability, physical or orthopedic disability, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, intellectual disabilities or other health impairments,” according to the TCOE press release. 

“[The program is] to make sure to seek out and find students who either have a disability or may have a disability and make sure that if they have a disability, they’re properly identified, and provided any services that they may need within the school setting,” Furtado said.

These services are even required to reach “highly mobile children,” who are advancing in grade levels, and to not discriminate cases based on the severity of the students special needs. The law extends to all children, whether they are homeless, wards of the state, in private schools or in public schools. Migrant children are also required to be assessed and helped by Child Find offices. 

“Child Find is an excellent way of notifying parents of exemplary services and compassionate people who are here to help children with special needs,” according to Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire via a statement. 

Parents who feel their student may have a disability will first have to contact TCOE or their local school, and then a Child Find coordinator will accept their referral and perform a screening. After this, the child will be directed to an appropriate education program that fits their needs, who will either continue evaluation or provide educational services. The assessments are provided at no cost to parents, and information is confidential. 

 The school can also not discriminate against the student or the disability; if a parent or friend of the student is concerned, the Child Find office must evaluate the child. Additionally, parents or friends of the student may even request a due process hearing if they feel the school is violating this law.

Start typing and press Enter to search