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Parent Information

Parental Rights Brochure

Your Parental Rights
North Dakota's Early Intervention Services: How the Law Works for You

Some North Dakota children and families face special challenges. Infants and toddlers who have developmental delays or who are considered high risk may be helped by early intervention --- a system of services for eligible youngsters from birth through age 2 to help them reach their full potential.

North Dakota's early intervention system depends on a partnership between parents and professionals. Working together, you and your team develop a plan to help your child grow and learn... and to provide you with the support and information you need.

Early intervention services are provided under Public Law 105-17 as Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It guarantees you the right to guide the development and delivery of services and supports that meet the needs of your child and family.

It's Up to You --- A Guarantee for Your Child And Your Family

Participation in North Dakota's early intervention system is voluntary. As your child's parent or guardian, you are guaranteed a number of rights. They are a part of the law, and they insure that you understand and agree with every element of the early intervention services your child receives.

You Have the Right To Know and Understand

Early intervention programs must give you written information in advance about evaluations, services, or other actions that affect your child. You'll be asked to give your permission – in writing – before any activity begins. The paperwork assures that you get all the details before any activity begins.

You need to understand the plan and services provided for your child and your family – so you have the right to explanations about every element of your child's program. If your native language is not English, or if you use sign language or other means of communication, an interpreter will be provided for you, if at all possible.

You Can Say “Yes” or “No”

Your permission is needed before any services can begin…including the evaluation process that determines eligibility; the assessment of your child's and family's strengths and concerns; and any of the services that may be recommended in your Individualized Family Service Plan.

You have the right to say “no” to any or all of the services. Turning down some of the recommended services will not jeopardize any other services to which you've agreed.

After you've given your permission for evaluation, you have the right to learn whether your child is eligible for services in a timely manner. You have a right to participate in the eligibility determination meeting.

A team of professionals will conduct assessments from time to time throughout the period when early intervention services are provided. These professional reviews will identify your child's personal strengths and challenges in a variety of areas, along with a description of the services that meet those needs. They'll also include a summary of the resources, priorities and concerns of your family, as well as the support and services needed to help you meet your child's developmental needs.

You Have the Right To Privacy

Your child's and family's information is confidential. Staff members must get your written permission before sharing any information that would personally identify you, unless they are authorized to do so under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

You Have the Right To See Your Records

You have the right to examine all of the records related to your child's services, including Infant Development/Human Service files on the eligibility decision, evaluation, and assessment, and the development and progress of your IFSP. You may also request that records be destroyed when they're no longer needed to provide early intervention services. (Your service provider is required; however, to keep a permanent record of name, address, nature of service, and the time period in which they were provided.)

You Have the Right To Fairness

You have a right to receive information and services in a non-discriminatory way. Materials used in evaluation and assessment, too, will be selected and used in ways that avoid any possible racial or cultural bias.

You Have the Right To a Written Plan

If your child is found to be eligible, you have the right to have an Individualized Family Service Plan, or IFSP, developed within 45 days of when you were referred to the Human Service Center. An IFSP is a written report that outlines your child's strengths and needs, your family's priorities, what you would like to achieve, and a precise plan for specific services. You must give your permission before any part of the program can begin.

You will meet with a team of professionals to develop the plan, and again to review it at least once every six months. These meetings will be arranged at times and places that are convenient to you.

If you disagree with any part of the plan, other services that you do approve can begin even while your concerns are being resolved.

You Have the Right To Bring Advisors

When your IFSP is being developed or reviewed, you can bring whomever you wish to advise you – other family members, friends, or advocates you choose.

Besides you and your advisors, the meetings will include the professional conducting the evaluation or assessment; your child's developmental disabilities case manager, and others who will be working with you (when appropriate).

You Have the Right to Disagree

Sometimes you might disagree with recommendations about your child's early intervention services. Early intervention programs recognize your right to make decisions about your child. They will take your concerns seriously. Saying “no” to any service will not threaten other services your child may be receiving.

You can always discuss your differences with members of your child's team. By talking about your concerns, you can often resolve a problem quickly and easily.

You may request mediation. Mediation is voluntary and will be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator, who is trained in effective mediation techniques and knowledgeable in laws and regulations relating to early intervention services. All mediation sessions will be scheduled in a timely manner and held at a location convenient to all parties. Mediation will not deny or delay your right to an informal conference or an appeal hearing. Discussions that occur during the mediation process are confidential and will not be used as evidence in any subsequent hearings or civil proceedings without permission.

You may request an informal conference with the Regional Human Service Center Director. You may bring other family members or advocates. You'll be informed of a decision within five working days. You have the right to file a formal request for a hearing if your disagree with the decision.

If you are concerned that a public agency or private service provider is violating a requirement of Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Act, you may choose to file a written complaint. Your complaint should be addressed to: Administrator of Children & Family Supports, Developmental Disabilities Unit, Department of Human Services, 600 South Second Street, Suite 1A, Bismarck, ND 58504-5729.

You can request a formal presentation of your concerns, an appeal hearing. (If you prefer, you can request this hearing without first going through the other issue resolution options already described.) Your request should be addressed to: Appeals Supervisor, North Dakota Department of Human Services, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

If you disagree with the outcome of the appeal hearing, you may file for a rehearing or reconsideration. This request, made within 15 days of the decision, must be based on new information indicating an unjust or invalid determination has been made or upon allegation that statutory or case law has been incorrectly interpreted.

Ultimately, you can appeal the decision to district court or bring civil action in state or federal court. The appeal hearing decision is final unless it's appealed by someone who is a part to the hearing.

The full text of all regulatory materials is available on request from the North Dakota Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Unit, 600 South Second Street, Suite 1A, Bismarck, ND 58504-5729.

North Dakota's Human Service Centers

Early intervention services are available through regional Human Service Centers located throughout North Dakota.

Williston Fargo North Dakota State Office
(701) 774-4634 (701) 298-4606 (701) 328-8930
1-800-231-7724 1-888-342-4900 1-800-755-8529

Minot Jamestown
(701) 857-8664 (701) 253-6416
1-888-470-6968 1-800-260-1310 Ext 6416

Devils Lake Bismarck
(701) 665-2200 (7010 328-8985
1-888-607-8610 1-888-328-2662

Grand Forks Dickinson
(701) 795-3000 (701) 227-7630
1-800-256-6742 1-888-227-7525

If you would like a copy of the Parental Rights Brochure, please contact the Developmental Disabilities Unit, 600 South 2nd Street, Ste 1A, Bismarck, ND 58504; telephone (701) 328-8930; or toll free 1-800-755-8529.

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