Delaware law helps parents with special needs children

In an effort to help parents whose special needs children are denied educational services, Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del, signed legislation that supports those families.

Prior to the new law, children with special needs who were denied educational services had to go through a hearing process set up under federal and state law. During the process, parents and in some cases, guardians were required to hire an expert or have diagnostic tests administered that were often very expensive.  However, things will now change thanks to the signing of House Bill 365 because it will allow parents who challenge denials of services to their children with special needs to be reimbursed for the costs of hiring experts, but only if they’re successful in their claims. 

“There is no better advocate for a child with special needs than his or her parents,” said Gov. Markell. “But when parents are forced to seek outside support and expertise, it’s important that cost not impede them from doing so.”

Also, the new legislation helps to return rights to Delaware parents who have children with special needs, basically rights they had until 2006. It was around that time when the United States Supreme Court revoked those parents’ rights to have the money they spend on doctors and diagnostic tests to pursue an appeal for their children reimbursed if it turns out they were right and the school was wrong.

“This law will make sure parents are on an even playing field when fighting for services that their children need,” said Rep. Quinn Johnson, D-Middletown.

In the past, many parents were unable to advocate for their children with special needs because they just couldn’t afford to pay the costs for experts or tests. Unfortunately, as a result, some children with special needs did not receive services that their parents thought were valuable.

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