Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams let me know she was informed the closure of out-patient intensive servicees, otherwise known as day treatment centers, will occur in the next sixty days. This decision was made through the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health which is part of the Department of Services for Youth, Children and Their Families (DSCYF). One parent found out that local school districts or charter schools will be expected to pick up the tab for these types of services in private settings. Which is in sharp contrast to existing Delaware state code which indicates the state picks up 70% of these bills and the local districts pay 30%. These placements are deciding by a group called the Interagency-Collaborative Team.
The ICT and what they do is this, from Title 14 of Delaware code:
(b) Before the Department of Education can authorize expenditures for new placements according to this section, the case must be reviewed by the Interagency Collaborative Team (ICT).
(1) The ICT shall consist of:
a. Division Director, Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF);
b. Division Director, Family Services of DSCYF;
c. Division Director, Division of Youth Rehabilitation Services of DSCYF;
d. Division Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS);
e. Division Director, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health of DHSS;
f. Director of the Office of Management and Budget or designee;
g. The Controller General or designee;
h. Director, Exceptional Children’s Group, Department of Education (DOE), who will serve as Chair; and
i. Associate Secretary, Curriculum and Instructional Improvement, DOE.
(2) A director assigned to the ICT may designate staff to represent the director on the ICT only if these designated representatives are empowered to act on behalf of the division director, including commitment of division resources for a full fiscal year.
The Delaware Department of Education needs to share the blame for this. They have set up a pressure cooker for students with disabilities. While Autism rates have soared in the past decade, so has the test, label, shame, and punish atmosphere set up by the DOE. While much of this was set up through federal mandate, Delaware has consistently failed in being able to “get” special education. Inclusion does not work in the modern era of Common Core standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment. When the DOE started setting up “standards-based IEPs” they missed the whole point of special education. Is it any wonder students can’t function in these types of environments? It is toxic to them. It is toxic to all students, but more for the most challenged.
Special education in Delaware is horrible. I am not disparaging the teachers in the classroom who attempt to deal with these issues, but the psychological toll on these students is more clear than ever. What we are doing now isn’t working. What they are planning won’t work. It is past time for parents to begin rising in protest like they never have before and demand change.