Understanding
IEP Parent Consent

IDEA outlines your procedural safeguards, which cover parent consent and special education procedures. IDEA covers all of your rights pertaining to confidentiality, complaint procedures, due process, hearings and appeals, school discipline and private placement.

Definition of Informed Consent:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states the school district has achieved informed consent if:

  • The parent has been fully informed in their native language or other mode of communication, of all information about the action for which they are giving consent.
  • The parent understands and has agreed in writing to that action
  • The parent understands that the consent is voluntary on their part and they know they may withdraw their consent at any time.

Definition of Written Notice:

IDEA states that your school district must give you written notice before it:

  • Proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of your child, or the provision of FAPE to your child: OR
  • Refuses to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of your child or the provision of FAPE to your child.
  • The notice must be written in a language understandable to the general public and provided in your native language or other mode of communication you use. Basically, the district must make sure that you understand the content of the notice and that there is written evidence of this.

Consent and Initial Evaluation:

The district cannot conduct an initial evaluation of your child to determine if your child is eligible for special education services without providing you with prior written notice of the proposed action and without obtaining parent consent. Your consent for initial evaluation does not mean that you have also given your consent for the school district to provide special education services.

If the child is a ward of the state and not living with his/her parent the school district does not need consent from the parent for an initial evaluation to determine if the child has a disability if:

  • The school district cannot find the child’s parent
  • The rights of the parent have been terminated in accordance with State law
  • A judge has assigned the right to make educational decisions and consent to an individual other than the parent.

Parent Consent for Special Education Services:

Your school district must obtain informed consent before providing special education and related services to your child for the first time. If you refuse or do not give your consent for your child to receive services or if you do not respond to a request, the school district is not mandated to provide services or to write your child an IEP.

If your child was receiving services and you decide to discontinue services, the school district may not continue to provide special education services and must provide you with written notice that the services have been discontinued.  

Parent Consent for Re-Evaluations:

Your school district must obtain your consent before it reevaluates your child, unless the school district can demonstrate that it took reasonable steps to obtain parent consent and you did not respond.

Your school must maintain documentation of all reasonable efforts to obtain parent consent for initial evaluations, to provide special education and related services for the first time and to reevaluate and to locate parents of wards of the State for initial evaluation.

Your consent is NOT required before your school district may:

  • Review existing data as part of your child’s evaluation or reevaluation
  • Give your child a test or other evaluation that is given to all children.

It is a good idea to obtain it from your district or county department of education prior to your IEP meeting so you have adequate time to review and write up a list of any questions you may have.