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Educational Services

Kinship caregivers may find that the children in their care face challenging educational experiences. It is important for caregivers to understand the rights and protections available to children in public schools, so they can effectively advocate for the children’s needs.

Children who exhibit learning and behavioral issues may qualify for federally mandated individualized services. Once identified, these children are entitled to appropriate interventions. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21 an appropriate, free public education designed to meet their individual needs.

Kinship caregivers can quickly and effectively seek school intervention by a written request for an evaluation and services. This letter should be mailed to the child’s school principal and superintendent. Once received, the school district must act upon the request. Under IDEA, school districts must complete action within 90 days after receipt. Testing must be completed, reported and, if the child is found to be eligible, a special education plan must be developed within this time frame. To be eligible for services, the child must have one of the following: intellectual disabilities, hearing impairment, speech or language impairment, visual impairment, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairment, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, or other health impairment, learning disability, or developmental delay for children ages 3 to 9.

If the children in your care are experiencing difficulty in school, contact your school principal or district superintendent’s office for more information. For help obtaining appropriate educational services for the children in your care, contact one of the Special Education Regional Resource Centers.

Special Educational Regional Resource Centers

Special Education Regional Resource Centers provide timely and specialized assistance to parents and school personnel.

  • They assist school district personnel in providing appropriate services to children with disabilities, through technical assistance and cooperative planning.
  • They provide regular and special education teachers, support personnel, administrators and parents with resources designed to improve the quality of instruction for children with disabilities, through the delivery of instructional materials and methodologies designed to meet the individual needs of children with special needs.
  • They provide staff development to local school district personnel and parents, on an individual and team basis, to improve the quality of instruction for children with disabilities.

For your local Educational Service Center, please search here.

Possible indicators for the need for Referral and Services

  • The child was held back a grade.
  • The child has failing grades.
  • The child has expressed a dislike of school.
  • The child has multiple behavior problems in school and/or multiple in-school suspensions.
  • The child has experienced out-of-school suspension or expulsion.
  • The child is more disorganized than is normal.
  • The child has a medical or mental health problem giving rise to school-related problems (such as attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder).

Head Start

When a preschool-aged child comes to live with you, many questions come to mind. How can you be sure the child gets a good start mentally and physically? How do you care for a toddler properly without wearing yourself out? How can you prepare the child for elementary school? Enrolling the child in Head Start may be the answer to these and other questions. Head Start is a federally funded, all-day program for preschoolers that provides education, enrichment and many other services to small children and the adults raising them. The children enrolled in the program receive breakfast and lunch through the program.

Head Start provides the following services to children ages 3-5 who live at or below the federal poverty level, as well as children with disabilities and their families:

  • Early childhood education
  • Medical services
  • Dental services
  • Nutrition services
  • Parent education
  • Other social services

To obtain more information about Head Start or to apply, contact the local Head Start agency in your community. 

High School Equivalency Diploma

Individuals over the age of 18 who have not completed high school can take courses to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma. For more information about programs in your county, call the Adult Basic Literacy Education Program at 1-800-228-READ (7323).

Grants and Scholarships for Higher Education

OWF recipients, children in foster care and other low-income children can qualify for government grants, scholarships and low-interest loans to help support the cost of college or other post-secondary education. For a free information packet, call the Ohio Board of Regents’ State Grants and Scholarships Department at 1-888-833-1133.

To learn more about how to Navigate the Educational System, please read more here.

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