Child Aging Out? Know the Laws in your Area
Question: What to do as your child is aging out of high school?
Advice: This month I have chosen to discuss,” what to do as your child is aging out of high school”? First and foremost, you need to empower yourself by understanding the by laws that are in place for special needs teens who are about to age out. It is against NYS law to discharge an adult prior to age 21 unless there are special circumstances that require an early group home setting, or an institutional setting. Know and understand the laws in your area because they differ from state to state. All treatment plans endorsed by the school system have to be in writing in the form of an IEP. If it’s not, then you have to fight for it. It is also customary for the district to pay for testing to be done by specialists in the field. This is another thing you have to fight for as the parent. There is no reason that any parent should be in a bind because the school district ousted their child. In NY, for example, we have trade schools that are an adjunct to BOCES which focus on daily living skills and some kind of training for a small job. You are entitled to this as well. I have assisted many families with special needs children to advocate for themselves and their children. You have to be willing to do the research because there are child advocates that exist who are paid by the state to help you. I will never forget the time when we had an outside neuropsychologist do testing on both of our special needs children. Insurance paid for half and we asked the school district to pay for the other half. They balked and said “no”. One thing that school boards don’t want are law suits on their hands. I am not a litigious person, however, when it comes to my children “watch out”. My husband and I told them that we had a legal advocate who would sue the district for the money. They jumped and we came to an agreement. You, as the parent, cannot trust the system entirely. Be empowered by having the knowledge. Go into the meeting with well thought out questions.
Robin Newman LCSW PC
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