International Adoption Info

Newsletter #108 for Internationally Adopting Parents
April 16, 2009
PAL Center Inc.



Sunday, April 26, 2009
8:15 am - 5:30 pm

UJA Federation,
130 E. 59th st. Manhattan

BGCenter Presenters
Boris Gindis, Ph.D.
Ida Jeltova, Ph.D.

In Round Table

1:15 - 2:30 pm

For more information


Coming Soon to
the BGCenter Online School:
New online classes
for parent's support
after the adoption

    Online class PC1
    The first year home: What to expect and how to respond

    Dr. Patty Cogen, the author of the book
    Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child--from your first hours together through the teen years.

    Online class SJM1
    Adopting a Child From Birth to Three Years Old

    Jean Roe Mauro, LCSW and Sara-Jane Hardman, the authors of the book
    If I love my kid enough

You receive this newsletter
as a former client or correspondent
of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental
Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
of the BGCenter Online School,
or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.



Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles Directory

New Articles
Advocating for the Child
Elaine MacDonald
Hearings and due process in Massachusetts

Is it true that when a hearing goes all the way to a final determination, the school districts "win" more than they lose?

This statistic by itself ignores the fact that school districts who know that their case is weaker will settle with parents before a final determination. The settlement can happen at different stages. For example, it can be:

  • As soon as they know you have a lawyer;
  • When you've created a wonderful paper trail as described in the Wrightslaw materials;
  • After you filed for a hearing;
  • Just before you walk into the hearing office;
  • Just before the hearing officer's judgment is given.

Look at the statistics in a recent memo from Mass Department of Education website at which I summarize the below:

In the period covering July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, The Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) received 7,401 rejected IEPs.

Of those 7,401 rejected IEPs, there were 906 mediations, of which 761 were resolved.

There were 618 hearing requests. Of the 618 requests, there were ONLY 34 actual hearings decisions.

Of the 34 decisions:
  • Parents prevailed in 7 (approximately 20%) ;
  • School districts in 19 (approximately 56%);
  • Six (6) decisions (approximately 18%) involved mixed relief;
  • Two (2) decisions (approximately 6%) involved relief against another state agency, or a dispute between two or more school districts;
Of the 7 cases in which parents fully prevailed, parents were represented by counsel in 4 and appeared Pro Se (acting without lawyers) in 3; the school district was represented by counsel in all 7 matters.

Of the 19 cases in which school districts fully prevailed, the district was represented by counsel in all cases; parents appeared Pro Se in 11, were represented by counsel in 6 and by an advocate in 2.

These stats indicate to me a couple of things:
  • School districts do come up with something acceptable to most parents -- 7,401 IEP rejections result in only 618 hearing requests which result in only 34 full hearings.
  • Getting ready for hearing improves your child's chances of getting services. Keep fighting and the odds are greatly in your favor that your child will get some improvement in services. Those 7,401 rejected IEPs resulted only in 19 cases where the parents "lost" their child's case. Those odds are pretty favorable.
  • If you do go to hearing, get a good lawyer who specializes in this sort of things since you'll be up against their lawyer who specialized in this. Representing yourself isn't such a hot idea.
You can't judge the value of preparing for a hearing on just the final stats.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Thinking of counselling?
People turn to counselling, be it individual, marital, family or group, at times having done little or no homework on the service provider. There is more to choosing a counselor then simply picking up the phone and making an appointment.

Ruthie Drapa
Basic tips to be a great parent
It is important that we discipline in a way that teaches responsibility by motivating our children internally, building their self-esteem and making them feel loved. If our children are disciplined in this respect, they will not have a need to turn to gangs, drugs, or sex to feel powerful or belong.


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