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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Child find (Sec. 300.111)

Comment: Several commenters expressed confusion about the child find requirements in Sec. 300.111 and the parental consent requirements in Sec. 300.300, and requested clarification on whether child find applies to private school children and whether LEAs may use the consent override procedures for children with disabilities enrolled in private schools. Two commenters requested that Sec. 300.111(a)(1)(i) specify that child find does not apply to private school children whose parents refuse consent.

Discussion: This issue is addressed in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section for subpart D in response to comments on Sec. 300.300.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter recommended retaining current Sec. 300.125(b) to ensure that the child find requirements are retained for parentally-placed private school children.

Discussion: Current Sec. 300.125(b) was removed from these regulations because, under the Act, States are no longer required to have State policies and procedures on file with the Secretary. Furthermore, the Department believes the requirements in Sec. Sec. 300.111 and 300.131 adequately ensure that parentally-placed private school children are considered in the child find process.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested a definition of the term "private school," as used in Sec. 300.111.

Discussion: The term "private school" as used in Sec. 300.111 means a private elementary school or secondary school, including a religious school. The terms elementary school and secondary school are defined in subpart A of these regulations. The term private is defined in 34 CFR Part 77, which applies to this program, and we see no need to include those definitions here.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested that the child find requirements in Sec. 300.111(c)(2) include homeless children.

Discussion: Homeless children are already included in the child find requirements. Section 300.111(a)(1)(i) clarifies that the State must have policies and procedures to ensure that children with disabilities who are homeless and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated. No further clarification is needed.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters recommended including in Sec. 300.111 the requirements in current Sec. 300.125(c), regarding child find for children from birth through age two when the SEA and lead agency for the Part C program are different. The commenters stated that this will ensure that children with disabilities from birth through age two are eligible to participate in child find activities when the Part C lead agency is not the SEA.

Discussion: The Department does not believe it is necessary to retain the language in current Sec. 300.125(c). The child find requirements in Sec. 300.111 have traditionally been interpreted to mean identifying and evaluating children beginning at birth. While child find under Part C of the Act overlaps, in part, with child find under Part B of the Act, the coordination of child find activities under Part B and Part C is an implementation matter that is best left to each State. Nothing in the Act or these regulations prohibits a Part C lead agency's participation, with the agreement of the SEA, in the actual implementation of child find activities for infants and toddlers with disabilities.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter recommended removing Sec. 300.111(c) because child find for children with developmental delays, older children progressing from grade to grade, and highly mobile children is not specifically required by the Act.

Discussion: The changes requested by the commenter cannot be made because they are inconsistent with the Act. Section 300.111(a)(1)(i), consistent with section 612(a)(3)(A) of the Act, explicitly requires that all children with disabilities residing in the State are identified, located, and evaluated. This includes children suspected of having developmental delays, as defined in section 602(3)(B) of the Act. We recognize that it is difficult to locate, identify, and evaluate highly mobile and migrant children with disabilities. However, we strongly believe it is important to stress in these regulations that the States' child find responsibilities in Sec. 300.111 apply equally to such children. We also believe it is important to clarify that a child suspected of having a disability but who has not failed, is making academic progress, and is passing from grade to grade must be considered in the child find process as any other child suspected of having a disability. As noted earlier in the discussion regarding Sec. 300.101, paragraph (c)(1) of Sec. 300.111 has been revised to clarify that children do not have to fail or be retained in a course or grade in order to be considered for special education and related services.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested that Sec. 300.111 explicitly require that children in residential facilities be included in the public agency's child find process.

Discussion: We believe Sec. 300.111(a), consistent with section 612(a)(3)(A) of the Act, clarifies that the State must ensure that all children with disabilities residing in the State are identified, located, and evaluated. This would include children in residential facilities. No further clarification is necessary.

Changes: None.