Advocacy at IEP Meetings
Due Process Complaint Request Filings
Special Needs Trusts
When a child qualifies to receive an IEP (Individualized Education Program), annual meetings occur to recview present levels, goals, services and placement. As an advocate, we attend these meetings with you to make sure that the child’s needs are being met and that, you, as a parent feel that your voice is heard. While an attorney is not required for an IEP meeting, it has been our experience that the meetings are more productive when an attorney is present. As an advocate, it is our job to be your voice and get your child the resources they are entitled to under the law.
In a perfect world, the IEP will have properly identified and addressed your child’s needs and laid out a clear-cut plan as to how those needs will be serviced. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If you—the child’s parent or legal guardian—are requesting specific services for your child because s/he is not making progress in light of their circumstances, and the school district refuses, you may be entitled to file a due process complaint request against the school. As experienced attorneys, Selogie & Brett is very familiar with this process and will write the request and prepare your case to be heard before an administrative law judge.
Prior to a case being sent to court and being heard before a judge, both parties may decide to attend a mediation to try and resolve before the hearing. Most special education cases can be resolved through mediation with favorable results because during mediation, a third-party mediator, assigned by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), will try to negotiate a settlement between you and the school district. It is best to have one of the qualified attorneys from Selogie & Brett represent you at this mediation to provide you with additional support and make sure all your needs are met throughout the mediation process.
We always hope to achieve a settlement agreement that is beneficial to your child through either a productive IEP meeting or through the mediation process after a complaint is filed, but dealing with the bureaucracy of a school district can be difficult and sometimes the only solution is a hearing in front of a judge. Selogie Brett is fully prepared to take any case to hearing, if necessary. Our attorneys use a firm, aggressive approach and will effectively present your child’s case to the court.
If your child is not completely independent or capable of making decisions on their own by adulthood, Selogie & Brett may recommend filing for a limited conservatorship. Under the law, once a child reaches the age of 18, s/he is considered a legal adult and you, as a parent, will no longer be able to make decisions regarding finances, healthcare, education, etc., on his/her behalf. If granted, a limited conservatorship would allow you to continue making these decisions on behalf of your adult-child. Selogie & Brett can help you through filing for the limited conservatorship and represent your case in court to help ensure a favorable ruling.
After the death of a parent or guardian of a person with disabilities or special needs, extreme care should be given to be sure that any inheritance received on behalf of the person does not strip them of any benefits or government assistance that they are currently receiving. In these situations, it is best if the benefactor or caregiver of the person establishes a special needs trust to take effect after they have passed. With the help of the dedicated attorneys at Selogie & Brett, we can also help you designate a trustee who will manage the trust and care for your special needs child without putting their benefits and extra assistance at risk.
Our experienced attorneys are passionate about advocating for, representing and empowering children with special needs and their families as they navigate through the public education system.