OSEP memo regarding children residing in nursing homes

On April 26, 2016 the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSEP) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding the special education rights and responsibilities surrounding children residing in nursing homes. Education administrators are urged to review the contents of this letter and take steps to ensure that their policies and practices are consistent with the requirements and best practices described in it.

In Maine, responsibility for child find and for ensuring the provision of FAPE to such a child rests with the school administrative unit (SAU) where the child’s parents reside unless: 1) the child was placed in the nursing home through the Intensive Temporary Residential Treatment (ITRT) process of the Department of Health and Human Services, making the child a state agency client and thus the responsibility of the SAU where the nursing home is located; 2) the superintendent of the SAU where the nursing home is located, pursuant to 20-A MRSA §5205(2), determines it is in the best interest of the child to transfer that responsibility to that SAU; or 3) the child attends school in a SAU pursuant to a superintendent’s agreement. See MUSER §§IV.4.E(2) and IV.4.F.

The letter can be found here: www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/dcl-children-in-nursing-homes-04-28-2016.pdf.

For more information or questions contact Maine DOE’s Jonathan Braff at jonathan.braff@maine.gov or call 624-6671.