Example of an Interagency Collaboration

This sample of an interagency agreement between a school district, special education program, and Head Start program contains the main components and follows the standard format of an interagency collaboration. This model may be adapted to meet the needs and characteristics of the agencies involved in the development of these types of agreements.



January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007

The ABC TOWN Unified School District, Programs for Exceptional Children (District) and the City of ABC TOWN, Head Start Program (Head Start) and its Delegate Agency, Trinity Council, in accordance with IDEA 1997 amendments, Part B, and in accordance to California Education code 56443 enter into this agreement for services to individuals with exceptional needs residing in the City of ABC TOWN and attending the Head Start Program. The Coordinator of Disabilities will act as liaison for the Head Start Program. The Director, Programs for Exceptional Children, will act as liaison for the District.


According to Education Code 56301, all individuals with disabilities residing in the state, including pupils with disabilities who are enrolled in elementary and secondary schools and private schools, including parochial schools, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services, shall be identified, located, and assessed as required by paragraph (3) and clause (ii) of paragraph (10) of subsection (a) of Section 1412 of Title 20 of the United States.

A. The District shall:

  • Include Head Start in the child find plan under part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Inform Head Start of the appropriate local referral procedures (Appendix A) and referral information to be provided
  • Identify district staff responsible for accepting and processing the referral of students from Head Start
  • Report results of referral and assessment process to Head Start with parent’s written consent.

B. Head Start shall:

  • Participate in the District child find plan under Part B of IDEA
  • Screen all children [within] the first 45 days of enrollment and refer those suspected to be in need of special education and related services to the District for assessment
  • Refer children suspected of needing special education to the District
  • Provide the District supplied information on special education and the referral process to all families with a child suspected to have a disability. This is done throughout the year in Head Start child recruitment efforts and meetings.


Each individual with exceptional needs that is assessed for special education services shall have the benefit of a multi-disciplinary team of persons. No single procedure shall be used as a sole criterion for assessment.

A. The District shall ensure that a full and individual evaluation is conducted for each child being considered for special education and related services under Part B of IDEA (1) The evaluation is conducted in accordance with the procedures described in 300.530-300.535. (2) The results of the evaluation are used by the Child’s IEP team in meeting the requirements of 300.340-300.350.

B. Parents shall be notified of the individualized education plan meeting early enough to ensure an opportunity to attend.

C. The meeting notice shall also identify any local agency that shall be invited to send a representative. The City of ABC TOWN’s Head Start program is here noted to be acknowledged as the other local agency.

D. In accordance with California Special Ed. Code 56043 the primary timelines affecting special education programs are as follows: (a) A proposed assessment plan shall be developed within 15 calendar days of the referral for assessment. Unless the parent agrees in writing to an extension, pursuant to subdivision (a) Section 56321. (b) A parent shall have at least 15 calendar days from the receipt of the proposed assessment plan to arrive at decision, pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 56321. (d) An individualized education program required as a result of an assessment of a pupil shall be developed within a total time not to exceed 50 calendar days, unless the parent agrees in writing to an extension, pursuant to Section 56344.

B. Head Start shall:

  • Assist the District in collecting the screening results and ongoing assessment information
  • Provide health screening/assessment (medical, dental, nutritional, developmental and speech data)
  • Share with the District educationally relevant assessments including the results of Ages and Stages and all other developmental appropriate information
  • Assist the District by working with parents to schedule and keep assessment appointments
  • Make appropriate referrals throughout the calendar year
  • Assist the District in locating interpreters for children and families as needed.


The individual with exceptional needs shall have a right to an appropriate education and related services in accordance with his or her IEP including full educational opportunity in the least restrictive environment.

A. The District shall:

  • Take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents [is present].

B. Head Start shall:

  • Participate in the development of the IEP for each child with exceptional needs who is or may be enrolled in Head Start. Head Start personnel who attend IEP meetings will explain all IEP information and objectives to the Head Start teachers when the teachers are unable to attend the IEP meeting
  • Provide all comprehensive child development services to all children enrolled at Head Start
  • Head Start will implement IEP goals and objectives into the child’s individualized daily curriculum
  • Participate in annual IEP reviews
  • Ensure that parents are included in the IEP process and assist in locating interpreters when a child(ren) and/or parents, are non-English speaking.

C. Transportation Services
In accordance with education code 56441.14 transportation will be offered to children whose parents qualify for their child to receive transportation services. “Criteria and options for meeting the special education transportation needs of individuals with exceptional needs between the ages of three and five, inclusive, and in the local transportation policy."


The individual shall be afforded procedural safeguards and confidentiality of all identifiable information in accordance with California Education Code and federal regulations.

A. The District shall:

  • Implement all procedural safe guards in accordance with California and federal laws and regulations
  • Inform parents of legal rights and protections, including due process hearing and complaint procedures
  • Inform Head Start of any due process hearing, of grievances of children and families who are provided special education by the District and enrolled in Head Start (in accordance to California Code)
  • With parent’s written consent, provide information to Head Start.

B. Head Start shall:

  • Ensure that all procedural safe guards in accordance with California and federal laws and regulations are implemented
  • Inform parents of legal rights and protections
  • With parent’s written consent, Head Start will provide information to the District.


The child with exceptional needs and his or her parents shall have the benefit of a uniform transition plan from Head Start to the local public school.

The District shall:

  • Establish a system to ensure a smooth transition of children with disabilities from Head Start programs to the public schools
  • By October 15th provide a list of former Head Start students with their new school of attendance to Head Start with the parent’s written consent.

Head Start shall:

  • Participate on the Preschool Transition Committee
  • Provide the District an annual list of graduates by April 15th
  • Assist the District in establishing a transition plan for Head Start students moving to the public schools
  • ...Update the list of identified special education students attending Head Start: home address, emergency information and telephone number.


The District shall:

  • Offer training to both district and Head Start personnel as appropriate
  • Participate in Head Start sponsored training opportunities as appropriate
  • Include Head Start personnel in Staff Development and Professional Development trainings as appropriate.

Head Start shall:

  • Offer training to both district and Head Start personnel as appropriate
  • Designate the Disabilities Coordinator as the person responsible for the coordination of training opportunities with the districts
  • The ABC TOWN Unified school district and Head Start shall conduct bi-annual cross trainings for district staff and Head Start staff.


The District shall finance the costs of special education and related services for all children with exceptional needs as specified in the IEP.

Head Start shall pay for the cost of comprehensive child development services for all children, including children with disabilities, enrolled in Head Start.


District administration and Head Start administration will meet monthly. Information regarding the update(s) and referral status of all children in the Head Start program will be forwarded to the Head Start Disabilities Coordinator.

The District shall provide information to the Head Start Disabilities Coordinator at the Grantee and Delegate Agency on:

1. Referral process 123-5555 Infant-Preschool

Acceptance Assessment Team
In process
Initial IEP’s
Identified students 768-5345 Programs for Exceptional
Program Children/Management
Placement Information Specialist
Annual IEP’s
District contact person 678-1324 As assigned by Executive
Director, Programs for Exceptional Children

A. The District shall contact the Head Start Disabilities Coordinator/Staff to provide

Current address, phone numbers, emergency information, moves into/out of the city.
Students in need of transition to public school, which should be done by at least April 15th of the year prior to the student entering the public school.


This agreement will become effective upon signature by the authorized representative of all parties [agencies]. This agreement is to be reviewed annually and updated every three years or sooner. This provision does not preclude the parties from revising the interagency agreement at any time, when they determine a revision is necessary.


FOR: Programs for Exceptional Children,
ABC TOWN Unified School District, ABC TOWN SELPA
BY: _______________________________ Title: _______________________________
T. Grace Jones Ph.D.
Executive Director Exceptional Children
DATE: ______________________________

FOR: City of ABC TOWN Head Start Program
BY: _______________________________ Title: _______________________________
Greta Garbo
Early Childhood & Family Services Manager
DATE: ____________________________

Example of an Interagency Collaboration. O'Brien, Jim. T/TA Network. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2006. English.

Last Reviewed: March 2010

Last Updated: November 13, 2014