The decision-making authority of this position is focused solely on special education, and involves discussing, addressing, and developing supports that assist the student in making effective academic progress. All medical, therapeutic, residential or financial decisions unrelated to special education fall under the authority of DCF and the student’s social worker. You are welcome to express your concerns, and ask the student’s DCF social worker to address them; you have no authority to make changes in these areas.
A more detailed explanation of where the limits fall is outlined below.
Decisions regarding the medical treatment of the student are made by DCF and the student’s social worker. You may not make decisions regarding medication or arrange for the student to see a physician. Any time a medical concern interferes with a student's access to education you may request support or intervention to address the situation. For example, if the teacher reports that the student consistently misinterprets oral directions, you can request that a hearing evaluation be conducted.
Many times the student(s) you are appointed to may be eligible for Medicaid. As a result, school or other personnel may request that you authorize the release of records to Medicaid or other providers based on the assumption that you are the student’s parent for all school-related issues. This assumption is incorrect. You do not have authority to release educational records for health insurance or school activities unrelated to special education. All such requests should be directed to the student’s social worker.
Therapy Outside of School
You are within your rights to request Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy or any behavioral or supportive therapy that would normally be decided by a Team or offered by a school district to assist students in making effective progress. If the student is placed in a therapeutic day school, or if their placement is considered residential for academic reasons (meaning the Team decided that residential supports were needed for the student to make effective progress) then the therapies used within those settings may be addressed, as they would be under the Team’s discretion. You are not able to make arrangements for a student to access a private counselor or any type of therapy outside of school administered services.
The determination of where the student will live is the sole responsibility of DCF. This is not to be confused with the term residential placement as used in an educational context, where the student lives and attends school within the same program. You do have the right to make decisions regarding the student’s academic placement. This can be a complex issue and you should contact your case coordinator directly when questions regarding your specific student(s) arise.
As an SESPP volunteer, you have no financial responsibility to any of the students you are appointed to. Additionally, financial constraints cannot be used as a reason for not providing appropriate and necessary services if the IEP Team determines a service is necessary to meet the needs of a child. As an SESPP volunteer, you are not responsible to negotiate any funding of services or placement with either the school district or DCF. Your responsibility is to work with the Team to determine the special education and related services the student requires to have success in school.