What is “Child Find”?
Child Find is a legal requirement that places responsibility on schools to:
- Actively look for and identify children who may have learning disabilities or require special education, and
- Evaluate those children according to state law. These evaluations often involve observations, assessments, and reviews of the child’s academic work.
Who does Child Find apply to?
Child Find applies to all children living in the state from birth to age twenty-one.
Why should parents know about Child Find?
- Parents may need to contact a Child Find representative: Each school usually has a staff member who leads Child Find for their school. This is often the person that teachers and parents will need to communicate with in order to refer a student for evaluation.
- Policies vary by location: Each state and school district will have different rules and procedures for Child Find. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) establishes responsibility for schools to identify students who would benefit from special education services; however, it does not provide specific guidelines for each school to follow regarding this process.
Child Find requires schools to assess referrals and conduct evaluations for children who may benefit from special education services; therefore, it benefits parents to understand the basics of this policy as well as the responsibilities of each school.