The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires school systems to ensure that parents have the opportunity to participate in a student's education if they choose to do so. The Florida Department of Education requires parents, guardians, and surrogate parents to be partners in developing, reviewing, and revising the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for their child.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) notes that family involvement is not limited to schools, but also occurs at home during "real life" situations. CEC lists the following opportunities for parental involvement at home and in the community.
The following resources provide information on the legal aspects of family involvement in special education and the IEP process as well as organizations that support families with children with disabilities.
See also "Parent Professional Collaboration" in the A-Z Library of Terms and Resources and "Family Involvement" in the Taxonomy of Effective Practices.
Rule 6A-6.03028, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules: Excerpts for Special Programs
This section of the Florida Administrative Code provides information on the Development of Individual Educational Plans for Students with Disabilities.
Questions and Answers about IDEA: Family Participation
This publication from NICHCY, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, contains information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requirements for parental rights, parental notification, and parental consent. It also lists related resources.
Improving Family Involvement in Special Education
This Web page describes opportunities and solutions for improving family involvement in special education from the Council for Exceptional Children. CEC is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. It advocates for appropriate governmental policies and individuals with disabilities, sets professional standards, provides professional development, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.
The Florida Partnership for Family Involvement in Education
The Partnership offers information, in-service opportunities, a library, materials, and training to schools. Information that schools may wish to share with parents include 40 downloadable Tips Sheets (in English and Spanish) and on-line workshops. Topics include Helping My Child Become a Better Reader and Helping My Child with Homework.
Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS) Parent Services
FDLRS Parent Services provides information, training, and support to districts and families in order to promote effective parent participation in the education of children who are exceptional and/or have special needs. Assistance is provided in developing family friendly programs, promoting partnerships between schools and parents to support student achievement, and ensuring that families have access to exceptional student education training, local resources, and family support groups.
Family Network on Disabilities of Florida (FND)
FND is a statewide network of families and individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs, their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. Its double mission is to (a) ensure that Floridians have full access to family-driven support, education, information, resources, and advocacy and (b) serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA.
Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE)
FAPE is a partnership that aims to improve the educational outcomes for children with disabilities. FAPE links families, advocates, and self-advocates to information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and special education services.
Inclusive Schools Network (ISN)
ISN is a Web-based resource for families, schools and communities that promotes inclusive educational practices through its mission to "encourage, embolden and empower people to design and implement effective inclusive schools, by sharing insights and best practices and by providing opportunities for connection." This resource grew out of Inclusive Schools Week, an internationally-recognized annual event sponsored by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). ISN provides year-round opportunities for families and educators around the world to network and build their knowledge of inclusive education.
New Online Tool to Empower and Inform Florida Families
The Florida Department of Education announces a new website that will help Florida families make critical education decisions by enabling them to access school and district-level data. The website will also better inform families about the state’s college- and career-ready standards and the quality of learning taking place in their students’ classrooms. One of the website’s primary functions is the school performance search tool, which enables parents to search by district, zip code and city, and then compare school and district data. In addition to performance data, the website provides information relevant to current and future students of all ages and includes easy-to-find information about the Florida Standards, school and district performance results in core subjects; educator effectiveness; and graduation and postsecondary statistics. To view the website, go to https://www.floridastudentsachieve.org/.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
ACF is a federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations that provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families. ACF also provides policy direction and information services to these organizations.
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).