Hidden Resources: California Department of Education
By Fran Goldfarb
Have you been to the California Department of Education (DoE) Website lately? It is a wealth of information about our children and schools in general and has a lot of information and resources specifically regarding children in special education and with special needs.
Their website is located at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ and from there you can go to their special education services. There you will find information regarding services, schools, statistics and you and your child's rights. The California DoE also has a wonderful publications unit, with books, pamphlets and brochures on a large number of subjects.
There is a new service I am particularly interested in telling you about, the Procedural Safeguards Referral Service (PSRS).
The PSRS can provide information and technical assistance regarding your options for dispute resolution. Their intent is to help parents make informed decisions as to how best to solve problems regarding compliance complaints, fair hearings, etc. If a parent needs help in solving their problem, the PSRS will contact their district office or SELPA (Special Education Local Planning Area) of the complaint and see if the problem can be solved without going through the process of due hearing. Confidentiality is a often a concern, so your individual problem will only be reported to your district or SELPA with your permission. But each district receives reports as to the general nature of calls (without identifying any of the callers) so that they can look for trends and hopefully remedy problem situations.
If the parents feels that their problem can't their problem can't be solved on the local level then the PSRS set up your file to expedite the process with the Complaint's Management and Mediation Unit (CMM).
Although this is a new service, already the PSRS is receiving a lot of calls, so when you call, please be patient, but know when you get through your call will be acted upon immediately.
If you would like more information, check out the Website. If you would like to contact the PSRS, their number is 1 800 926-0648.