GK vs. Montgomery County IU

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 13129-1213 KE

Child’s Name: G.K.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
DatesofHearing: 12/17/12,2/7/13,2/13/13,2/15/13

3/1/13, 3/4/13, 3/19/13, 3/26/13

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parents

LEA
Montgomery County IU 23 EI Program 1605 West Main Street
Norristown, PA 19403

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Frederick Stanczak, Esquire 179 N. Broad Street, 2nd Floor Doylestown, PA 18901

LEA Attorney
Timothy Gilsbach, Esquire Fox, Rothschild, L.L.P.
10 Sentry Parkway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 3001
Blue Bell, PA 19422-3001

Date Record Closed: April 16, 2013

Date of Decision: May 8, 2013

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case concerns a [preschool-aged] eligible young child residing within the Intermediate Unit, which has been responsible for providing early intervention services from the date of the Child’s 3rd birthday, less than two years ago. Despite the length of the hearing, which spanned eight sessions, and the number of documents presented by the parties, including admission of over 800 pages of e-mails in a single exhibit, the dispute between the parties involves a period of less than one year, from June 2012 through February 2013.

An earlier due process hearing between the same parties was resolved via a settlement agreement allowing, inter alia, for Parents’ preferred provider of ABA therapy and behavior services to remain as service provider during a short period of transition to an IU contractor. Subsequently, Parents found fault with proposed providers and with two agencies the IU contracted to provide services, resulting in their withdrawals of two agencies after a short time. A new IU provider began delivering services to the Child in February 2013.

Parents request an order reimbursing/paying the costs of ABA therapy and behavior support services that they either paid to their preferred provider, or that remain unpaid, for services to the Child when there was no IU contractor providing services.

Parents’ claims arising from the IU’s choice of service providers are denied for several reasons: 1) the issues in this case arose primarily from Parents’ efforts to control the type of services the Child received, as well as the details of implementation of services; 2) the IU took all reasonable steps to provide appropriate ABA therapy and behavior support services; 3) Parents cannot force the IU to accept their choice of a service provider, either directly or indirectly; 4) the Child made progress toward IEP/IFSP goals.

To the extent, however, that the IU has not paid for service hours specified in the Child’s IEP/IFSP due to the absence of an IU provider, the IU will be required to fund those hours.

ISSUES1

  1. Did the Intermediate Unit offer and provide early intervention services that were appropriate for the Eligible Young Child in accordance with the Child’s IEP and identified needs?
  2. Has the Intermediate Unit selected appropriate service providers able to deliver sufficient and appropriate services to meet Child’s needs?
  3. If not, did Parents select an appropriate service provider to replace IU services?
  4. Should the Intermediate Unit be directed to reimburse Parents/pay for expenses they incurred for the service providers they selected to replace the services that the IU did not provide, either because Parents rejected the services or because the IU providers withdrew from providing services?
  5. Should the Intermediate Unit be required to engage a service provider selected by Parents due to the IU’s inability to find a contractor to provide appropriate services?
G-K-Montgomery-County-UI-ODRNo-13129-1213-KE

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