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Feds: Transition Services In Need Of Improvement

Aug 21, 2012 -- 7:28 am
August 7, 2012 Text Size A A
As students with disabilities transition out of high school, a new government report finds the path to independence is overly complicated.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, kids with disabilities are eligible for a broad range of services through their local school district. However, once these students complete high school, they must apply and be deemed eligible for services administered by upwards of four federal agencies in order to continue receiving government assistance.
But a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office finds that poor coordination often leaves young adults and their families struggling to find resources.
“The current federal approach to assisting students with disabilities in their transition to postsecondary education or the workforce necessitates that students and their parents navigate multiple programs and service systems to piece together the supports these students need to achieve maximum independence in adulthood,” finds the report from Congress’ investigative arm.
For the report, investigators interviewed families and other stakeholders in five states. In many cases, parents reported that school district officials were not aware of services that their children might be eligible for as adults or did not properly inform them of their options.
What’s more, varying requirements for government programs can be confusing and documentation needed to qualify for different offerings is frequently overwhelming, GAO found.
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