ELC filed an administrative complaint with the PA Department of Education (“PDE”) on behalf of three individual children and all others similarly situated who have been deprived of smooth transitions to kindergarten or first grade in the School District of Philadelphia (“District”). State and federal law mandates that children with disabilities must move from early intervention services to elementary school without disruption of the critical special education services to which they are legally entitled. However, the District has failed to meet these requirements and ELC has asked PDE’s Bureau of Special Education to investigate and issue corrective action as necessary. Specifically, the District is required to (1) complete a re-evaluation of a child’s eligibility for services within 60 days of receiving signed parental consent, (2) provide a Re-evaluation Report to the parent at least 10 days prior to an IEP meeting, and (3) ensure that an IEP is completed within the 30 days of the IEP meeting. Additionally, federal law requires that children who have limited English proficiency are evaluated in their native language to ensure an accurate re-evaluation. If you or any families you know have had similar issues transitioning from early intervention to the District, please contact Sean McGrath at [email protected]. You can read a copy of ELC’s Complaint here.
Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) programs work: they promote the school readiness of young children from low-income families and support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. Sadly, according to 2010 census data, slightly less than 50% of eligible children in Pennsylvania have a corresponding Head Start slot. ELC has been working to change this by expanding access to Head Start and prioritizing our most vulnerable young children. Under the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, children experiencing homelessness and those in foster care are automatically eligible for EHS and HS programs and must be prioritized for enrollment.
The School District of Philadelphia has openings and is currently accepting applications for enrollment to Head Start for September 2015. Below is the list of locations that currently have vacancies and two flyers that have registration dates at McMichael and Pratt schools. For additional information, please contact R. Waunda Loadholt, Social Service Coordinator at the District 215-400-6213.
Oct. 20, 2014 – For years, ELC has worked for expanded access to Early Intervention services for vulnerable children – including the estimated 6,000 Pennsylvania infants and toddlers (birth to 3 years old) experiencing homelessness. Many of these children suffer significant trauma and neglect – placing them at greater risk for developmental delays. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, trauma and poverty impact infants in unique yet substantial ways – often leading to lower learning capacities, maladaptive behaviors, and sometimes lifelong physical and mental health problems. Homelessness itself is a significant risk factor.