§1439. Procedural safeguards
(a) Minimum procedures
The procedural safeguards required to be included in a statewide system under section 1435(a)(13) of this title shall provide, at a minimum, the following:
- (1) The timely administrative resolution of complaints by parents. Any party aggrieved by the findings and decision regarding an administrative complaint shall have the right to bring a civil action with respect to the complaint in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in controversy. In any action brought under this paragraph, the court shall receive the records of the administrative proceedings, shall hear additional evidence at the request of a party, and, basing its decision on the preponderance of the evidence, shall grant such relief as the court determines is appropriate.
- (2) The right to confidentiality of personally identifiable information, including the right of parents to written notice of and written consent to the exchange of such information among agencies consistent with Federal and State law.
- (3) The right of the parents to determine whether they, their infant or toddler, or other family members will accept or decline any early intervention service under this subchapter in accordance with State law without jeopardizing other early intervention services under this subchapter.
- (4) The opportunity for parents to examine records relating to assessment, screening, eligibility determinations, and the development and implementation of the individualized family service plan.
- (5) Procedures to protect the rights of the infant or toddler whenever the parents of the infant or toddler are not known or cannot be found or the infant or toddler is a ward of the State, including the assignment of an individual (who shall not be an employee of the State lead agency, or other State agency, and who shall not be any person, or any employee of a person, providing early intervention services to the infant or toddler or any family member of the infant or toddler) to act as a surrogate for the parents.
- (6) Written prior notice to the parents of the infant or toddler with a disability whenever the State agency or service provider proposes to initiate or change, or refuses to initiate or change, the identification, evaluation, or placement of the infant or toddler with a disability, or the provision of appropriate early intervention services to the infant or toddler.
- (7) Procedures designed to ensure that the notice required by paragraph (6) fully informs the parents, in the parents’ native language, unless it clearly is not feasible to do so, of all procedures available pursuant to this section.
- (8) The right of parents to use mediation in accordance with section 1415 of this title, except that—
- (A) any reference in the section to a State educational agency shall be considered to be a reference to a State’s lead agency established or designated under section 1435(a)(10) of this title;
- (B) any reference in the section to a local educational agency shall be considered to be a reference to a local service provider or the State’s lead agency under this subchapter, as the case may be; and
- (C) any reference in the section to the provision of a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities shall be considered to be a reference to the provision of appropriate early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
(b) Services during pendency of proceedings
During the pendency of any proceeding or action involving a complaint by the parents of an infant or toddler with a disability, unless the State agency and the parents otherwise agree, the infant or toddler shall continue to receive the appropriate early intervention services currently being provided or, if applying for initial services, shall receive the services not in dispute.