The Special Services Department works with families and their children with disabilities and/or mental health concerns, to ensure our early learners receive the full benefits of participation in the Head Start/ Early Head Start Program. The Department engages parents and staff in early identification and intervention services to help children meet their developmental milestones. The Special Services Department consists of six (6) Specialists. The Special Services Specialists provide classroom support and promote advocacy skills with families as needed. They explain parent/ guardian rights and responsibilities according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Head Start Act of 2007 and assist families in obtaining services through Local Education Agencies (LEA), Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECI), and private providers. Additionally, the Department supports teaching staff with classroom routines and activities that support the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and the Individualized Education Plans (IEP) of children with special needs.
The Special Services Department is committed to working with families and their children who have a suspected or identified disability. This includes children with significant disabilities. The goal is that every child receives the comprehensive services needed to meet their developmental, health and social needs. The Department assists families in obtaining services through their LEA (educational model) and additional support or therapy services with private providers (medical model). The Department works with LEA’s, community agencies, GCCSA staff, and private providers to ensure that all children receive services in a timely manner. In addition, we are committed to dedicating ten percent (10%) of our funded enrollment to matriculate children with disabilities.
The Agency has contracts with Mental Health Professionals (MHP) who will assist parents and staff with mental health concerns. MHPs provide direct support to children, parents, and staff. They also assist our early learners in emotional, cognitive and social development. The Department works with LEAs, community agencies, GCCSA staff, and private providers to ensure that all of our enrolled children receive services in a timely manner, and enhance awareness and understanding of mental wellness.