South San Francisco, CA October 7, 2020 Submitted by David Burruto, Chief of Staff SMC Supervisor Pine
Tuesday, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved a grant for $30,000 to the IEP Collaborative, Inc. (IEPC) to fund special education rights training workshops, limited special education legal consultation for youth and their families, COVID-19 distance learning program development, translation services, and general organizational support.
IEPC is a nonprofit that empowers and educates families with children with special needs through special education rights trainings and legal consultation and representation. IEPC assists parents and students to engage in advocacy and collaboration to receive a free and appropriate public education consistent with their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and relevant federal and state law.
“Families with kids with special needs often struggle to understand their legal rights and the complex processes required to secure the education that they are entitled to,” said Supervisor Dave Pine. “IEPC is uniquely positioned to help families navigate the daunting legal and bureaucratic challenges to secure services for their children that meet their individual needs and ensure that their rights are protected.”
Since launching services in April 2019, IEPC has assisted over 50 local families navigate their special education rights without litigation, but the COVID-19 crisis has magnified the challenges faced by many local families and complicated the process for school districts to provide services. Until shelter-in-place orders lift, all IEPC’s services are delivered remotely via video teleconference or telephone and webinar format.
“We are excited to continue assisting families in our County to feel empowered in their advocacy for their children – especially during these challenging times at home,” said Krista J. Martinelli, CEO of IEP Collaborative, Inc.“ Our programs are designed to support their collaboration with teachers and education service providers to ensure the provision of appropriate services and avoid the pitfalls and misunderstandings that frequently lead to inefficiencies in the process, including litigation and stalled IEP or 504 Plan implementation.”
Measure K is a 20-year extension of the countywide half-cent sales tax passed by local voters in November 2016 to support essential County services and to maintain or replace critical facilities.