Memorandum of Understanding between the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Head Start
 

The following memorandum provides a framework for collaborative service delivery for young children with disabilities ages three to five in Head Start settings. It makes available to Head Start administrators and partners specific information about the areas of collaboration in Arkansas.





Introduction
Principles
Roles and Responsibilities
     The ADE's responsibilities
     The Head Start Programs' responsibilities
     The ESC/LEA's responsibilities
Effective Date, Changes, Life of this Agreement
Resolutions of Disputes
Coordination of Required Paperwork

The Arkansas Department of Education, Special Education, hereafter referred to as ADE, The Education Service Cooperatives, hereafter referred to as ESC, the Local Education Agencies, hereafter referred to as LEA, the Arkansas Head Start Programs, and the Arkansas Head Start State Collaboration Office, hereafter referred to as the Collaboration Office, for the purpose of carrying out the regulatory provisions for funding of services under the Individuals with disabilities Education Improvement Act, hereafter referred to as IDEA, enter into this Memorandum of Understanding to benefit eligible children, ages three (3) through five (5) years (excluding those eligible for Kindergarten) with disabilities, in Head Start Programs. 

This agreement is set forth to describe the responsibilities of each entity, outline areas of cooperation and provide guidance for local collaboration in the implementation of the IDEA between and among all aforementioned parties.

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I. PRINCIPLES

This Memorandum of Understanding is based on the following principles:

  1. All parties agree that the basis for this Memorandum of Understanding is to provide a mechanism for ensuring that children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education.
  2. This agreement is in no way intended to modify the responsibilities or authority delegated to the parties by federal and state regulations.
  3. Services will be maximized through the joint utilization of resources and avoid duplication of effort in the provision of services to young children with disabilities which may include shared resources for personnel, in-service training, coordinated child find efforts, cooperative resource libraries, contracted services and exchange of services appropriate to local situations.
  4. All parties agree that timely communication with one another must occur to ensure that children with disabilities receive the services for which they are entitled.
  5. All parties agree that written procedures be established to ensure the implementation of this agreement

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II. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

These procedures will apply to Head Start eligible children, three (3) through five (5) years (excluding those eligible for Kindergarten) of age, identified as disabled in accordance with procedures established by the ADE pursuant to regulations promulgated under federal and state laws governing the education of children with disabilities.

The ADE’s responsibilities are delineated as follows:

  1. The ADE has general supervisory responsibility over the education program of any public agency providing services to children, ages three (3) through five (5) (excluding those eligible for Kindergarten) with disabilities who qualify under the IDEA.
  2. The ADE recognizes that the Head Start programs are a potential location for the delivery of a free appropriate public education for eligible children three (3) through five (5)  (excluding those eligible for Kindergarten) with disabilities under IDEA.
  3. The ADE will flow IDEA funds to the ESC/LEA for the provision of special education and related services for eligible children ages three (3) through five (5) (excluding those eligible for Kindergarten) with disabilities under IDEA.
  4. The ADE shall monitor the ESC/LEA for implementation of special education and related services to eligible children under IDEA enrolled in the Head Start programs.
  5. The ADE shall make available resources, training and technical assistance services to the ESC/LEA and Head Start personnel involved in the education of children with disabilities. Based on an annual needs assessment survey disseminated by the ADE.

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The Head Start programs’ responsibilities are delineated as follows:

  1. The Head Start programs shall ensure screenings for all children enrolled in Head Start and participate in Child Find activities with ESC/LEA.
  2. The Head Start programs shall provide all Head Start services to any Head Start child regardless of that child’s involvement in or eligibility for special education services under the IDEA or this agreement.
  3. The Head Start programs will participate in the multidisciplinary evaluation, Individual Education Program (IEP) development, the implementation of these portions of children’s’ IEPs identified for Head Start programs and all Special Education conferences, including transition to public school kindergarten.  The Head Start Program will provide written documentation concerning the child’s progress in the general curriculum.
  4. The Head Start programs will continue to offer a support system for families of children with disabilities through training, information dissemination and social support.
  5. For children who are demonstrating inappropriate behaviors that may have an adverse affect on their developmental performance the Head Start program shall:  Consult with the EC Special Education program regarding appropriate classroom modifications and interventions.
  6. Identified students shall be made available to all Special Education staff during the Head Start day in order to conduct observations, evaluations and provide direct services as needed. Head Start will adhere to confidentiality of all identified special needs children.

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The ESC/LEA’s responsibilities are delineated as follows:

  1. The ESC/LEA shall ensure that IDEA, Part B funds received for the provision of services to eligible children, ages three (3) through five (5) (excluding those eligible for Kindergarten) with disabilities who are served in Head Start programs, are expended on those children.  Funds may be used for, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Cost of evaluation;
    • Materials and supplies;
    • Contractual arrangements for services when the Head Start program has a qualified provider and/or;
    • The provision of a qualified provider.
  2. The ESC/LEA shall conduct a multidisciplinary team evaluation, when appropriate, for any child referred for special education and related services while enrolled or considered for enrollment in a Head Start program.
  3. The ESC/LEA shall be responsible for the provision of procedural safeguards and due process for any child determined eligible under the IDEA who is enrolled in a Head Start program.
  4. The ESC/LEA shall ensure through prior written notification that an appropriate Head Start representative will be designated by each Head Start grantee to be involved and receive appropriate documentation throughout the process of referral, evaluation   and/or placement of children with disabilities enrolled in Head Start
    program.
  5. The ESC/LEA shall ensure the provision of appropriate special education and related   services to those eligible children in the Head Start programs.  All services for which the child is eligible will be documented on the IEP with the responsible agency specified for the provision of each service.                    
  6. The ESC/LEA will maintain and submit to the ADE a separate count of eligible Preschool children with disabilities served in Head Start programs.
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III. EFFECTIVE DATE, CHANGES, LIFE OF THIS AGREEMENT

  1. This agreement will become effective October 1, 2005 when all parties’ signatures are affixed thereto.
  2. Changes made during its effective life will be added as formal amendments, which all parties must acknowledge, by signature.
  3. This agreement will continue until requirements are changed under the IDEA or Head Start.  If no revisions are requested by either party, no action of renewal is necessary and the effective life of the agreement continues.

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IV. RESOLUTIONS of DISPUTES

In the event of disputes between the HS program and the ESC/LEA Special Education program regarding compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between ADE and HS, the following process will be followed for resolution.

  1. The dispute will be brought to the attention of the local EC Coordinator/Special Education Supervisor and the HS Disabilities Coordinator to seek resolution of the dispute.
  2. If the issue is not resolved, the matter will then be submitted in writing to the Head Start Agency Director and ESC Director/LEA Superintendent to facilitate resolution.
  3. If the issue is not resolved as described above in “B”, then the matter will be submitted in writing to the Associate Director for Special Education, ADE, who will intervene to facilitate resolution of any dispute between the local HS program and the ESC/LEA early childhood special education program.
  4. Should resolution not be reached after step “C” described above, the matter will be forward to the Director, ADE, General Education Division, and the Administrator of the ACF Region VI Office for final disposition.

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V. COORDINATION of REQUIRED PAPERWORK

To coordinate paperwork required by the Head Start program and ESC/LEA early childhood special education program the following process is recommended:

  1. When a child is referred by Head Start to the ESC/LEA Early Childhood Special Education Program then Head Start will first obtain parental consent.
  2. Head Start or ECSE/LEA Program will obtain a parent release for exchange of information between the ESC/LEA EC Special Education Program and Head Start programs at the referral conference.
  3. The ESC/LEA EC Special Education program will release copies of due process documentation (inclusive of evaluation reports) to Head Start when both agencies are involved in the identification, evaluation and/or provision of FAPE to preschool children with disabilities, in a timely manner.
  4. The Head Start program will release results of vision, hearing, developmental, speech screenings, and general curriculum information, as well as other relevant information when applicable, to the ESC/LEA Early Childhood Special Education Program in a timely manner.
  5. All information received by HS from the ESC/LEA Special Education Early Childhood program will be kept in a locked file in a central location adhering to requirements of confidentiality.
  6. For ESC/LEA Early Childhood Special Education staff serving children in the Head Start programs, personnel reference checks and health cards must comply with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood education licensure requirements.  Licensure documentation and a copy of personnel health cards will be provided to appropriate Head Start center/program by the early childhood special education program.

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See also:
      Arkansas State Resources



Memorandum of Understanding between the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Head Start. HHS/ACF/OHS/Arkansas Head Start Collaboration Office and ADE/ESC/LEA. 2006. English.


Last Reviewed: November 2009

Last Updated: April 19, 2012