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RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENT QUESTION


JOYCE
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We are from PR and children are considered adults at 21 yo. Our 23 yo daughter , who has autism, epilepsy and other conditions, has been at home for 5 years + without being able to attend school due to lack of the correct placement in Puerto Rico (PR), the disruptions created by hurricanes, pandemic, her medical issues, etc. Due to the severity of her conditions, which have deteriorated due to the lack of services, she has been recommended, in psychological, psychiatric and behavioral evaluations, a therapeutic behavioral residential program for young adults with serious behavioral problems.

Based on these evaluations, she first requires a neurobehavioral program that provides behavioral and pharmacological interventions to address serious problem behaviors and provide emotional stabilization. Once she has gone through a transition and stabilization process, it is recommended that she enroll in a residential group home setting that provides ongoing behavioral, therapeutic, educational, vocational, and health support, and supervision around the clock. In Puerto Rico there is no suitable location for her, so since last year the Department of Education authorized the search for a placement for her in the continental United States

After spending over a year searching, we found a placement in FL that fits the experts’ recommendations. NeuroRestorative in Sarasota, FL has a neurobehavioral residence for 6 people with autism. It was recommended to us by the director of Kennedy Krieger Institute as an alternative that they use after discharging students from their Neurobehavioral program. Since September we knew that a space would be freed in October and we began the purchase of services process with the PR Department of Education.

She urgently needs that placement, and needs time for her treatment, stabilization, and subsequent placement in an assisted living residential project as recommended.

They agree that this is the appropriate placement for her but are subtracting over 3 years from the 4.5 years of compensatory time approved with a formula that converts every school day missed to a 6 hour period and comparing it to a 24 hour period, 7 days a week, in the residential setting, converting every 4 days of “regular” school into 1 residential day. 

When the IEP meeting team met in May, it was very clear to all present that they were approving a residential 24 hour setting (as recommended in her evaluations) and the minutes clearly state that it would finalize on the 1st semester of 2026-2027 and that the 4.5 years of educational and related services will be in the modality, frequency and duration that she needs them at the time of compensation. As you know, everything agreed in minutes of an IEP meeting has legal force. 

We believe that the PR Department of Education is violating our daughter's rights. She will not be getting direct services 24 hours a day. She will also have meal times, rest time, fun time and she will sleep…all this within a residential setting for individuals like her.

This calculation also dismisses the basic fact that the PR DoE failed to provide the services she needed, leaving our family kidnapped in our home, as there are no other support or respite services available in PR. She needs to receive the services that will help her get back to where she was and better so she can live in a supported residential setting in the future.

IDEA requires to ensure that “a continuum of alternative placements” is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services” [§300.115(a)]. These placement options include:

•    instruction in regular classes,

•    special classes,

•    special schools,

•    home instruction, and

•    instruction in hospitals and institutions.

We wonder if, based on their offer, the students that need most help, which are those placed in hospitals and institutions, receive only ¼ of each semester and are discharged earlier than other students in the school system.

We would also like to know if the formula used by the PR DoE is correct and legal, and if you have any suggestions. Our lawyers are working on filing a lawsuit this week.

Thanks!

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I believe the educational portion will count against the time owed.  This should be 5-6 hours a day max.  The rest should be considered medical.  One school year in residential should amount to 10 - 12 months in residential and not 3 months.  If the placement should have been residential & they want to calculate it based on 24 hours per day, your child is owed time based on a 24 hours/day placement - not a 6 hour/day school day.

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Here is a video that we did last year, me and an attorney, explaining covid comp services and how they are calculated.

 

https://www.facebook.com/ADayInOurShoesIEP/videos/1217932565288284

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When residential placement was recommended for my son, I had a lot of information thrown at me at one time. I opted to go a different route because I did not feel that residential was really required in his case, it was the school's last ditch offer. What I recall, though, was that because it is a combination of residential, medical and educational, how it was paid for, actually came from different components and that might be why your computation seems strange. If my son had gone, for instance, although he would have been on site at the placement for 24 hours a day the educational department would not have been responsible for 100% of the cost was much understanding. From the facilities I spoke to not all services were offered and available 100% of the time either, certain services were available at specific times throughout the day or week. For instance, a fully-licensed Psychiatrist was not always on-site but may be on-call and similar for other service providers. 

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