Child Find is legal mandate for schools to find children who have disabilities and need services. Child Find is part of a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law protects the rights of students with disabilities. Under IDEA, each state is required to have early intervention policies and services in place to help those children who may have a disability. Within each state’s early intervention programs for infants and toddlers, children from birth to two years of age are provided with services through multiple agencies. IDEA also requires states to ensure that children with disabilities are eligible for special education services by age three.
According to IDEA:
(A) In General. All children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities who are homeless children or are wards of the State and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated and a practical method is developed and implemented to determine which children with disabilities are currently receiving needed special education and related services.
(B) Construction. Nothing in this title requires that children be classified by their disability so long as each child who has a disability listed in Section 1401 of this title and who, by reason of that disability, needs special education and related services is regarded as a child with a disability under this part.
Important Facts to Know
- Schools are required to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21.
- Children who are being homeschooled or who are in private school are also covered.
- Schools can use various methods to reach families of those in need.
- Under IDEA, if the school knows that a child may have a disability, they are required to evaluate them.
- If the school fails to evaluate a child, parents can seek a due process hearing.