Day programs for children with big behavioral issues stemming from disabilities are shooting up rapidly. This is a good thing. Prior to this year, most of these special needs students were sent to residential treatment centers which can result in separation from family and a large financial burden to the state. This is the most promising Interagency Collaborative Team report I’ve seen since I began covering these three years ago.
The unique challenges these students face is very difficult for families and schools. At times, extra intervention beyond the capacity of the local education agency is needed. The choice of sending a student to a day program or a residential treatment center is still a difficult one for a parent. But a day program, in the same state, is a better option for the student and their primary caregivers. While a parent doesn’t pay for these programs when it goes through the ICT, it costs the state much more for residential treatment. In most cases, a local school district pays 30% of the cost while the state pays the remaining 70%.
Most of the children, teenagers, and young adults are male, at roughly 80%. Over half of these students are teenagers. Around 3/4 of the students in residential treatment centers go out of state to receive those services. The number of students in these unique services has hovered in the low 140s for the past three fiscal years.