Disability Services Coordinator Orientation Guide

Appendix A: Building an Interagency Memorandum of Understanding

I. Purpose

The main themes expressed here indicate why agencies develop an interagency memorandum of understanding (MOU):

  • Address an identified need or goal
  • Create joint, cooperative services to avoid duplication
  • Provide and strengthen services to children with disabilities and their families
  • Define staff's roles and responsibilities
  • Plan joint training and technical assistance and share information
  • Promote information and share resources
  • Facilitate transition
  • Describe the setting for delivery of services
  • Define roles and responsibilities for sharing information
  • Define participants and agencies involved
  • Describe fiscal arrangements

II. Program Overview

The organizations listed represent the participants in the interagency MOU and include a description of their services:

  • Head Start or Early Head Start program: Offers children educational services
  • Local education or early intervention agency: Provides Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) services to eligible children
  • Contract organizations: Hire and train interventionists, teachers, and related service personnel as necessary
  • Community partners: Support disability services for children and their families

III. Mutual Philosophy

The following terms describe the philosophies that guide partners' work. Think about what you have in common and where you differ. Develop ways to resolve different perspectives.

  • Collaboration and interagency coordination
  • Family-centered
  • Partnership
  • Communication
  • Inclusive services
  • Avoiding duplication
  • Individualized services
  • Consistent and secure relationships
  • Diversity
  • Smooth transitions

IV. Enabling Mandates

Here are some examples of the mandates for an interagency agreement:

V. Areas of Collaboration

Describe roles and responsibilities for the agencies. Each interagency MOU considers state-specific processes or procedures:

  • Identify the Head Start or Early Head Start program's role in Child Find
  • Work together to refer and evaluate the child
  • Determine eligibility and share evaluation results
  • Organize and track supports
  • Create greater opportunities for inclusive opportunities
  • Work together to follow the Individualized Education Program or Individualized Family Service Plan
  • Support communication between staff and early intervention and special education providers
  • Integrate and coordinate service delivery
  • Plan adaptations, accommodations, assistive technology, and other supports
  • Coordinate training and technical assistance
  • Enhance transitions
  • Enhance family engagement

VI. Confidentiality

This section describes confidentiality practices as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and the HSPPS.

VII. Dispute Resolution

Outline how to deal with conflict as it might arise through the partnership. This section likely indicates specific, agreed-upon procedures for conflict resolution. Either partner can initiate a dispute resolution.

VIII. Review and Amendments

Specify a regular review schedule for the agreement to ensure that it is effective. Partners also define the process for requests for changes or amendments.

IX. Definitions

Include a glossary or a list of terms and acronyms used in the agreement to establish a common language and understanding of services. Some of the terms listed here may be state-specific.

X. Signatures

All partners must sign each interagency MOU.

XI. Appendices

Many interagency MOU contain appendices with items such as:

  • Relevant policies and procedures
  • Collaborative processes
  • Joint professional development
  • Documents to support the work
  • Lists of partners, agencies, or supporting organizations