Special Education Agencies Parents Should Remember

Special education needs for students

Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

There are so many special education resources and agencies for parents to use to help special needs students. Here are some to remember, to help parents improve their advocacy, for the student they love, stuck in the public school system.

Word help in white with black background and hand hovering over
There are governmental agencies which can help parents with special education issues

State Agencies Which Take Complaints or Are Great Resources

These agencies may take student complaints and can also be great informational resources. It is critical that parents get educated, know their rights and know agencies which may help parents and students in their fight for justice in education.

OAH- Office of Administrative Hearings:  This is a critical agency in California for parents fighting for special needs students.  OAH is where parents file student due process hearing requests to attempt to resolve special education placement, service, FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), and other special education issues.  Information on how to proceed, and even a searchable opinion database can be accessed at the OAH site.

CDE – California Department of Education; This is the agency which oversees all of California education, including special education, curriculum, discrimination, and other areas. The CDE website is a great place for parents to research many subjects, and statistics or information regarding their own school district

CDE Special Education Complaint Resolution Unit:  This is the branch of the CDE (California Department of Education) which takes complaints for failure to implement a student IEP, procedural failures of districts and other school issues.

Special needs students need parent support
Parents should get as educated as possible to help students needing special education supports

Federal Agencies To Know About

Some federal agencies where parents may research special education issues, or file a complaint include:

OCR-  Office for Civil Rights:  This branch of the United States Department of Education (USDOE) accepts student and parent complaints on disability, gender, race and other forms of discrimination by schools and districts. OCR also has a huge library of information and issues OCR opinion letters interpreting the law, which can be helpful for student school issues. 

OSEP- Office of Special Education Programs:  OSEP is a branch of the United States Department of Education (USDOE).  OSEP is more of an advisory group to school districts and states.  However, OSEP has many resources and issues letters, summaries, and opinions from time to time.  These can be used as references for student issues.

USDOJ: US Department of Justice: Complaints against private schools which take federal funds, or for issues involving religious discrimination may be lodged with the USDOJ. They are also a great resource for research on matters under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and resolutions.

These are just some of the many government agencies which parents can use to fight for student special education rights and FAPE. Check them out!

Student’s lawyer Michelle Ball helps parents with IEP, 504, SST and other education needs, attending IEP and 504 meetings. As an education attorney in Sacramento California, Michelle helps parents across the state in Roseville, Folsom, Auburn, Stockton, Vallejo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Riverside, Foresthill, Ventura, Santa Barbara and many other areas.

[originally published June 13, 2011]