MB vs. Chester County MH-MR

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: MB

ODR #00260/09-10 KE

Date of Birth: XX-XX-XXXX

Date of Hearing: September 24, 2009

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Mr.
Ms.

Chester County MH/MR Agency Government Service Center
601 Westtown Road Suite 340 West Chester, Pennsylvania 19382

Interpreters:
Debi Chrisbacher, CDI Pamela Cosper, CI/CT Nancy Levine, CI/CT

Representative: Pro Se

Bruce Laverty, Esquire
342 E. Lancaster Avenue Downingtown, Pennsylvania 19335

Date of Decision: October 6, 2009

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D. Certified Hearing Official

Background

The two-and-a-half year old Child who is the subject of this hearing is deaf, and is eligible for Early Intervention services. At the Parents’ request the Chester County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Agency (County) has agreed to fund the Child’s Early Intervention program at the [Redacted] School for the Deaf (SCHOOL). The Parents requested this hearing, seeking a hearing officer order compelling the County to pay them a stipend, in addition to reimbursement for mileage, for transporting their child to SCHOOL three days per week for the next six months. The parties participated in a mediation one week before the hearing but no resolution was reached. [NT 48-49]

The Child’s mother, [Redacted] represented the Parents in this hearing. Therefore, in accord with the Administrative Proceedings Interpreters Act of 2006, P.L. 1538, No. 172 Cl. 02, certified interpreters participated to convey spoken English to the mother and to convey statements made by the mother into English through American Sign Language. Additionally, as is permitted as part of her interpretation duties, one of the interpreters read the father’s written testimony1 into the record to which the County did not object despite the inability to cross-examine the father regarding his testimony. [NT 55-56] Two of the certified interpreters were hearing and one certified interpreter was deaf.2 At the beginning of the hearing the Hearing Officer administered an oath to the interpreters in accord with §585 of the Act.

As this hearing involved a Child in the Birth to Three Early Intervention age range, it was required to be completed, including the issuance of a written decision, within 30 calendar days of September 10, 2009, the date on which the Parents’ Complaint was received by the Office for Dispute Resolution.

Issue

Must the Chester County MH/MR Agency pay the Parents a stipend in addition to reimbursing them for mileage for transporting their Child to the SCHOOL three days per week for six months?

MB-Chester-County-MH-MR-Agency-ODRNo-00260-09-10-KE

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