When parents feel that they want a neutral third party to hear their concerns, informal local mediation is always available. Parents are always informed of their right to file for formal mediation and due process with the state Office of Administrative Hearings instead of or after using informal local mediation. Many parents are happy to use a more informal method of working out conflicts and informal mediation often results in successful agreements with signed Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
Parents can access informal local mediation by contacting trained local SELPA staff. This option will be offered to them through the Intake Coordination process.
Legal Protections: Participation in the ADR process does not prevent any future use of the more traditional due process procedures which can be initiated at any time by either party.
No Cost: SELPA assistance is provided at no cost to families and do not involve the use of advocates or attorneys except under unusual circumstances.
Confidentiality: All participants are legally bound by the agreement to maintain confidentiality. This means, what is said or written in the ADR process cannot be used outside of that setting without the consent of all parties.
Margaret St. George, Coordinator
Alternative Dispute Resolution Program