Advocacy Success: New regulations expand access to evaluations for children with disabilities

Low-income families in Massachusetts who have children with disabilities now face one less barrier in securing the supports and services their children may need to succeed in school.

New regulations released by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) increase the maximum allowable rates used to reimburse independent educational evaluations (IEEs) for students with disabilities. The new regulations were effective beginning April 1, 2018.

IEEs are conducted by a range of professionals including psychologists, special educators, and speech therapists, and are a legally required option for students receiving special education services. The evaluations are critically important to help determine the special education services necessary to meet a child’s needs.

IEEs are used when parents disagree with a school district’s testing. However, the rates previously set by the state for independent evaluations were far below the rates customarily charged by evaluators, and were last increased 14 years ago. As a result, many low-income and middle-income parents could not obtain the evaluation necessary to effectively participate on their child’s IEP Team and exercise their due process rights.

The new regulations provide an important step toward ensuring that low-income parents in Massachusetts have access to the vitally important independent evaluations to which they are legally entitled.

MAC is proud to have played a leading role in advocating for these important rate increases in the legislature and EOHHS. We are grateful to the Ed Law Project and other advocates, parents, and psychologists for their critical advocacy work in support of these rate increases.

Click here for testimony provided by MAC Senior Project Director Julia Landau.

Click here for a fact sheet about this bill.