KRFDC Head Start is dedicated to better prepare young children and their families for life experiences now and in the future. This Document features 14 categories of resources available to individuals and families in Clark, Estill, Garrard, Jackson, Laurel, Madison, Powell, and Rockcastle counties. The categories include alcohol/drug, basic needs, counseling, child services, disability services, education and literacy, employment, family resource centers, general health resources, mental health resources, nutrition resources, transportation, women’s crisis services, and other.
Click here for a comprehensive list of Community Resources
Here are some common questions parents may have about the referral process for special education:
1. Q: An area of concern came up when my child was screened. What does this mean and what happens next?
A: Screening is a snap shot that lets us know where your child is developmentally and if a referral for further evaluation is needed. If a referral is needed, response to intervention (RTI) will be implemented either at home or while your child attends school. If no improvement is made, a referral to the local education agency (LEA)/school system will be made.
2. Q: I received a notice in the mail inviting me to a “multidisciplinary admissions release committee meeting”. What happens next?
A: The notice you receive will contain information regarding the purpose of the meeting, date, time, and location. It will also have a section for you to complete and return to the LEA/school system indicating whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, need to have it rescheduled, or will not be able to attend but want the meeting conducted and paperwork mailed to you.
3. Q: What can I expect during the initial ARC meeting?
A: During the first meeting, introductions will be made and parent rights/procedural safeguards will be explained to you. There will also be a discussion regarding the results of the screening and results of interventions provided. The committee will then make the determination as to whether or not further evaluation is warranted. If further evaluation is needed, signed parental permission must be provided in order to do so. Once parental consent is obtained, a date/time for your child to be evaluated will be determined (if not that same day).
4. Q: Who will be in attendance at the ARC meeting? Can I request certain individuals to be at the meeting?
A: The parents of the child. A representative from the LEA/school system to Chair the meeting. A regular or special education teacher and related services personnel, if appropriate. Yes. As a parent you can request that certain individuals such as Comprehensive Care or other service providers that may be working with your child also be invited to the meeting.
5. Q: Once I have given written consent for an evaluation, how long does the LEA/school system have to complete the evaluation and meet back with me to go over the results?
A: The LEA has 60 school days once written consent is provided by the parent to complete the evaluation and conduct an ARC meeting to go over the results.
6. Q: If my child qualifies for services what happens next?
A: Within 30 school days of determining eligibility an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed.
7. Q: What is an IEP?
A: An Individual Education Program or IEP is a document outlining the child’s present level of performance (PLP) in the following areas: Communication, Academic Performance, Health/Vision/Hearing/Motor Abilities, Social/Emotional Status, General Intelligence, and Transition Needs. It will also include information about special factors for the IEP Development- for example: Does the child require assistive technology devices and services in order to implement the IEP. There is also information about the goals and objectives that the teacher and/or therapist will be working on with the child. Finally, there is information about the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) in which the student will/will not participate in general education as well as information about special education services to be provided. Example: Jane will receive speech therapy 30 minutes 5 times per month by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in the resource room or regular education classroom.
8. Q: How long is an IEP valid?
A: A typical IEP is valid for 1 year. However as a parent, you can request an ARC meeting at any time if you have concerns regarding the contents of the IEP.
9. Q: Can they implement the IEP and provide therapy to my child without my permission?
A: No. Written Parental Consent must be provided prior to services beginning. If you do not want your child to have an IEP and receive services, you will be asked to sign a Denial of Services form.
10. Q: What happens when the one year is up?
A. An ARC meeting will be scheduled to discuss the progress your child has made during the year and to update the contents of the IEP. Example: Joe has mastered counting to 10/goal has been met. The new goal will now be for Joe to be able to count to 20. If all of the goals have been met and there are no longer concerns, your child may be released from Special Education.
11. Q: What happens if additional questions and/or concerns come up after the meeting?
A: Let your child’s teacher know and he/she will provide you with the contact information for the LEA/school system or the Special Services Coordinator for Head Start and they would be happy to discuss them with you.
12. Q: Will my child’s information be kept confidential?
A: Yes. All information is kept confidential and on a “need to know” basis.
Always remember that you are your child’s first teacher and know your child best. As a parent, you have the right to:
• Ask questions when things are not clear
• State any concerns that you have
• Speak up if you disagree with any of the information that you are provided with
• State the goals you want for your child
KRFHS is committed to building positive relationships among children, families, staff, mental health professionals, and other community partners to enhance awareness and understanding of social and emotional wellness, as well as the importance of mental health services to children and their families.
KRFHS maintains agreements with Local Education Agencies and licensed mental health care providers that outline available services. Each location where Head Start/Early Head Start children attend school has access to mental health services. Every child that enrolls in our program has a social and emotional questionnaire completed by the parent/guardian. This questionnaire provides us with important information on the overall well-being of the child.
Frequently asked questions about mental illness in children from the National Institute of Mental Health:
Q: What should I do if I am concerned about mental, behavioral, or emotional symptoms in my child?
A: Talk to your child’s doctor or health care provider. Ask questions and learn everything you can about the behavior or symptoms that worry you. Ask your child’s teacher if your child has been showing worrisome changes in behavior and be sure to share this information with your child’s doctor or health care provider. (National Institute on Mental Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009)
Q: How do I know if my child’s problems are serious?
A: Not every problem is serious. In fact, many everyday stresses can cause changes in your child’s behavior. For example, the birth of a sibling may cause a child to temporarily act much younger than his/her age. It is important to be able to tell the difference between typical behavior changes and those associated with more serious problems. Pay special attention to behaviors that include:
- Problems across a variety of settings, such as school, at home, or with peers
- Changes in appetite or sleep
- Social withdrawal or fearful behavior towards things your child normally is not afraid of
- Returning to behaviors more common in younger children, such as bed wetting for a prolonged period of time
- Signs of being upset, such as sadness or tearfulness
- Signs of self-destructive behavior, such as head-banging or the tendency to get hurt often
(National Institute on Mental Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009)
Q: Can symptoms be caused by a death in the family, illness in a parent, family financial problems, divorce or other events?
A: Yes. Every member of a family is affected by tragedy or extreme stress, even the youngest child. It’s normal for stress to cause a child to be upset. Remember this if you see mental, emotional, or behavioral symptoms in your child. If it takes more than one month for your child to get used to a situation or if your child has severe reactions, talk to your child’s doctor or health care provider. (National Institute on Mental Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009)
Q: How are mental illnesses diagnosed in young children?
A: Just like in adults, children with mental illnesses are diagnosed after a doctor or mental health specialist carefully observes signs and symptoms. Some primary care physicians can diagnose your child themselves, however, most will send you to a specialist who can diagnose and treat children. (National Institute on Mental Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009)
Q: Will my child get better with time?
A: Some children do get better with time and the proper treatment. However, other children need ongoing professional help. Talk to your child’s doctor or specialist about problems that are severe, continuous, and affect daily activities. Also, don’t delay seeking help. Treatment may produce better results if started early. (National Institute on Mental Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009)
Q: Are there treatments other than medication?
A: Yes. Psychosocial therapies can be very effective alone and/or in combination with medication. Psychosocial therapies are also called “talk therapies,” “play therapy,” or “behavioral therapy,” and they can help children with mental illness change behavior. Therapies that teach parents and children coping strategies can also be effective. (National Institute on Mental Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009)
Q: How do I work with Head Start regarding my concerns?
A: Start by speaking with your child’s teacher or family services specialist. These professionals can help you get a plan of action started for your child. Be sure to keep your child’s teacher updated on any evaluations, diagnoses that he/she may receive and always be sure and keep your teacher up to date regarding the treatment plan. Everyone working together will enable the child to progress more quickly.
Q: How do I access mental health services or what if I have a question?
A: For more information on how to access mental health services please contact the Special Services Coordinator at 859/623-7233.
For after-hour emergencies:
In Clark, Estill, Garrard, Madison, and Powell counties:
Please contact the 24 hour crisis line through Bluegrass.org by calling: 1-800-928-8000
In Jackson, Laurel, and Rockcastle counties:
Please contact the 24 hour crisis line through Cumberland River Comprehensive Care Center by calling:
Adult services hotline: 1-888-435-7761
Child services hotline: 1-877-455-3702