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Note:  This document has been delivered to the Office of the Federal Register but has not yet been scheduled for publication.  The official version of this document is the document that is published in the Federal Register.

hearings at least 30 days prior to the hearing.

Regarding the comments opposing the public participation

requirements in §303.208, we appreciate the concern about

the potential burden these requirements place on States and lead agencies; however, we strongly believe that the benefits of public input outweigh any potential burden because States have flexibility under Part C of the Act in many areas (e.g., developing their definition of developmental delay, serving at-risk infants and toddlers, serving children beyond age three, using Part B or C due process procedures, and system of payments), and the Part C policies and procedures in these and other areas affect the fundamental rights of infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. For this reason, it is critical that the public have an opportunity to weigh in on

a State’s policies and procedures, regardless of whether

they are new or revised or if they involve direct Part C services.

In response to the comment recommending that States be permitted to use their State APA procedures to ensure public participation in connection with Part C policies and

procedures, we decline to make any changes to §303.208.

State APA procedures vary from State to State, and because the Department views meaningful public participation as