The Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR) coordinates and manages Pennsylvania’s special education mediation and due process systems regardless of the age of the child. However, the procedures will differ based upon the child’s age. ODR offers IFSP facilitation, Resolution Meeting Facilitation, Mediation, and Due Process Hearings for Infants and Toddlers who are receiving Early Intervention.
The Departments of Public Welfare and Education, Office of Child Development and Early Learning are responsible for Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention Program for eligible infants and toddlers. Information regarding mediation and due process hearings for infants and toddlers is available from both Departments.
To find your local Early Intervention program, contact CONNECT at 800-692-7288.
IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) Facilitation is a voluntary process that can be used when everyone agrees that having a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the child’s IFSP. This process is not necessary for most IFSP meetings. It is most often considered when any of the participants feel that the issues at the IFSP meeting might create an impasse in the development of the IFSP.
It is important to understand, however, that IFSP facilitators are not hearing officers and do not have the authority to make decision for the parties. IFSP facilitators are not advocates for either party. They help the members of the IFSP team focus on the issues at hand during the IFSP meeting. The facilitator’s role is to focus the dynamics of the meeting to ensure that the participants interact respectfully, that the perspectives of the participants are heard, and that the participants focus on the issues and future actions.
For more information, please call the Office for Dispute Resolution at 1-800-222-3353.