Report 2015-112 Recommendation 9 Responses

Report 2015-112: Student Mental Health Services: Some Students' Services Were Affected by a New State Law, and the State Needs to Analyze Student Outcomes and Track Service Costs (Release Date: January 2016)

Recommendation #9 To: Education, Department of

To ensure that LEAs comply with federal and state requirements, Education should require all LEAs to use the IEP document to communicate the rationale for residential treatment and any potential harmful effects of such placement.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation and no further updates will be provided.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


1-Year Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation for the reasons previously stated. Current federal and state laws require parents to be informed of any changes in a student's placement, and to consider potential harmful effects to the student from the change in placement; Education does this. Additionally, Education's monitoring processes produce corrections to LEAs found to be out of compliance with requirements to inform parents of changes in placement and to consider potential harmful effects to students that may result from a change in placement.

  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Will Not Implement

Education continues to decline to implement a recommendation that would assist it with the compliance reviews it states that it conducts. LEAs are already required to document the rationale for residential placement and consider the potential harmful effects of such placements. Because a documentation requirement already exists, it would not likely be overly burdensome to LEAs for Education to direct where specifically the LEAs should record these considerations. Further, having a consistent expectation for where these considerations should be documented could make it easier for Education to monitor compliance with these requirements.


6-Month Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation. While IEP teams are always required to document and communicate the rationale for changes in a student's placement, federal law does not require such documentation to be specifically included in the student's IEP. Instead, federal law allows for such documentation to be included elsewhere in the student's file. Further, Education's current monitoring and follow-up activities effectively assesses LEAs' compliance with federal and state requirements, which include: (1) the federal requirement that in selecting a "Least Restrictive Environment," consideration must be given to the potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and (2) the state requirement that the IEP document the rationale for any placement other than the pupil's school and classroom in which the pupil would attend if the pupil was not disabled.

Furthermore, Education's LEA monitoring processes address the requirement for LEAs to clearly communicate the rationale for providing a student with IEP-based residential services, and for considering any potential harmful effects to the student due to such placement. LEAs found to be out of compliance are provided technical assistance to correct identified deficiencies. Education then follows up with LEAs to ensure continued compliance with federal and state requirements.

  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Will Not Implement

It continues to be unclear to us why Education disagrees with this recommendation given that it states that LEAs are required to document the rationale for residential placement and consider the potential harmful effects of such placements. As noted in our report, our recommendation would not likely be overly burdensome to LEAs, and the four SELPAs we visited during our audit were all supportive of similar recommendations we directed to them.


60-Day Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with this recommendation. Education contends that its current monitoring and follow-up activities effectively ensure LEAs' compliance with federal and state requirements, which include the: (1) federal requirement that in selecting a "Least Restrictive Environment," consideration must be given to the potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and (2) state requirement that the IEP document the rationale for placement in other than the pupil's school and classroom in which the pupil would attend if the pupil was not disabled.

Furthermore, Education's LEA monitoring processes address the requirement for LEAs to clearly communicate the rationale for providing a student with IEP-based residential services, and for considering any potential harmful effects to the student due to such placement. LEAs found to be out of compliance are provided technical assistance to correct identified deficiencies. Education then follows up with LEAs to ensure continued compliance with federal and state requirements.

  • Response Date: April 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Will Not Implement

It is not clear to us why Education disagrees with this recommendation given that it states that LEAs are required to document the rationale for residential placement and consider the potential harmful effects of such placements. As noted in our report, our recommendation would not likely be overly burdensome to LEAs, and the four SELPAs we visited during our audit were all supportive of similar recommendations we directed to them.


All Recommendations in 2015-112

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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