Law Office of Michelle Ball Area Boards,CDE,FAPE,OAH,OCR,OSEP,Special Education,USDOE Special Education Agencies With Acronyms Parents Should Remember – OAH, CDE, OCR, OSEP, Area Boards

Special Education Agencies With Acronyms Parents Should Remember – OAH, CDE, OCR, OSEP, Area Boards


Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

There are so many special education resources for parents, I thought I would briefly explain just a few and provide links for parent use.

1)  OAH- Office of Administrative Hearings:  This is a very critical agency in California for parents.  OAH is where parents file 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 their site.

2)  CDE – Procedural Safeguards Referral Service:  This is the branch of the CDE (California Department of Education) which takes complaints for failure to implement an IEP, procedural failures of districts and other district issues.

3)   OSEP- the 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, they have many resources and do issue letters, summaries, and opinions from time to time.  These can be printed out and used as references for parents, or simply can be used to educate a parent on issues.

4)  OCR-  Office for Civil Rights:  This branch of the USDOE accepts complaints on disability (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 instructive.

5)  Area Boards:  Area Boards serve the developmentally disabled (DD) community as well as students with autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and other disabilities with manifestations similar to DD.  Area Boards provide services, education, and advocacy to qualified individuals and can fill in gaps missed by school districts.

These are just some of the myriad of acronym-wielding agencies which can be useful to parents in their special education fight for a free and appropriate education, aka FAPE.