Guidelines for Developing Interagency Transition Agreements

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					        GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING INTERAGENCY TRANSITION
                          AGREEMENTS

INTRODUCTION

Both federal and state regulations require activities to support the transition of children
and their families from infant-toddler to preschool services under Part B or to other
services that may be appropriate if the child is no longer eligible under the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Each individualized family service plan (IFSP)
must include a transition plan for the child who will become three years old during that
year and should include family involvement and interdisciplinary and interagency
collaboration and cooperation.

BACKGROUND

Writing an interagency transition agreement or memorandum of understanding is a
strategy used by local interagency coordinating councils or collaborating agencies to
facilitate individual transition planning. The agreement establishes community transition
procedures that formalize prior understandings and discussions between agencies, so that
all legal and fiscal responsibilities are handled properly. The agreement is designed to
create a framework within which successful individualized transitions will take place.

Benefits of an interagency transition agreement:
• Opportunities for family participation and options are provided.
• Responsibilities of sending and receiving agencies are defined.
• Timelines for activities for children, families, and agencies are outlined.
• Funding allocations are specified.
• Procedures for transferring information are clear.
• Evaluation information is shared and duplication is avoided.
• Continuity of supports, services or participation is assured.
• Supports, service and placement opportunities are expanded.
• Options over the summer months are planned.
• Children and families as well as agency staff receive support and experience a more
   coordinated and “seamless” transition.

DEFINITIONS

Interagency transition agreement: a formal document that designates clear fiscal and
legal obligations and is authorized by the signature of an agency head/designee. Only
those agencies that are legally and fiscally responsible for seeing that services are
provided to eligible children should become signatories to an interagency agreement.
These agencies include:
• Organizations receiving community, state, or federal funds to provide early
    intervention services. These will be the sending organizations.
• Local education agencies (LEAs) with responsibility for providing special education
    programs and services. These will be the receiving organizations.
•   Other community agencies participating in the system of early childhood care and
    education. These will be either sending or receiving agencies.

Memorandum of understanding (MOU): a simpler, more informal plan which alludes
to common understandings. A memorandum of understanding may be more suitable in
some communities where an ongoing relationship already exists, or in a metropolitan area
where many layers of bureaucracy are required to approve a formally signed agreement.

RECOMMENDED ITEMS TO INCLUDE IN AGREEMENT OR MOU

Discussions leading to developing an interagency transition agreement or memorandum
of understanding may include representatives of many community partners. The early
intervention (0-3) agencies, school districts or BOCES, parents of young children with
special needs who have recently experienced transition at age 3, local ICC
representatives, and representatives of other early childhood agencies who serve children
with and without special needs should be included. The drafting of the written agreement
or MOU may be delegated to a small group utilizing the whole group input or may be
written by the whole group. The whole group should review the draft agreement or MOU
before it goes for signature/approval.

The transition agreement/MOU should include these components:

Purpose statement
• State the mutually agreed upon purpose for this agreement/MOU.

Initial transition meeting plan
• Timelines and responsibilities should be identified. The infant toddler program is
    responsible for convening the conference with the approval of the family at least 90
    days but preferably 9-12 months before the child’s third birthday.
• Identification of who specifically will be responsible for making arrangements and
    who will be invited to attend.
• Specify how parental approval will be obtained and invitations made.
• Specify how each of these agenda items will be handled:
    1. Review of the child’s and family’s options.
    2. Establishment of an individual transition plan including timelines for evaluation,
        transition activities, and the IFSP/IEP meeting.

Information and training to be provided to parents
• Specify how and when the following information and training will be provided, and
   who will be responsible for each item:
   1. Acquainting families with IFSP/IEP procedures, issues, and procedural
      safeguards.
   2. Helping families identify the roles they wish to play in their child’s transition.
   3. Helping families become familiar with the spectrum of supports and services for
      which their child may be eligible or which the family may want to participate in.
Procedures to prepare children for changes in service and supports
• Determination of what steps will be planned to prepare children to adjust to and be
   successful in a new setting.
• Specify how and when the following actions will take place and who will be
   responsible:
   1. Visits to new settings or activities within the community.
   2. Communication between staff from sending and receiving agencies to identify
       skills or experiences that may help children succeed.
   3. Identification of support for the child wherever they are after turning 3.
   4. Identification of local programs and/or activity options and resources that may be
       available if the child is not eligible for Part B services.

Transmission of information about the child to the local education agency or other
community program
• Specify how and when the following actions will take place and who will be
   responsible:
   1. Obtaining consent to release information if appropriate.
   2. Forwarding names of potentially eligible children in a timely fashion (define
       “timely”).
   3. Forwarding more detailed information (IFSPs, evaluations, etc.) as appropriate.
   4. Any final reports.

Financial responsibilities of all agencies
• Timelines and circumstances for paying for supports and services

Method to monitor and update the interagency agreement
• Specify how and when the transition agreement will be reviewed.
• Specify who will be involved and how and when the effectiveness of the transition
  agreement will be evaluated including how family input will be gathered.

Authorizing signatures
• All parties responsible across all systems




Author:
Cindy Shotts, M.Ed.
Bridging Early services Transition Project
Associated Colleges of Central Kansas

				
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