Brooklyn, NY – After hearing from dozens of parents, Councilman David Greenfield took action and secured a commitment from NYC Department of Education to promptly resolve issues surrounding their non-public school special education and related services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and health services. Numerous parents and service providers contacted Councilman Greenfield to relay their frustrations and detail their difficulties getting services for children that were already approved by DOE. After speaking with top DOE officials, Councilman Greenfield was assured that the agency would not only act immediately to address these issues but would also ensure that any child that misses services will receive makeup sessions.
“It is really unbelievable that the Department of Education is forcing children to wait for the related services they need to succeed,” said Councilman Greenfield. “Providing these special ed and related services isn’t a choice, it is the law. I am now confident that the DOE officials who administer these services fully understand that and I take them at their word that they are doing everything in their power to make sure services are restored to our children within a matter of days and that all missed sessions are made-up.”
Unfortunately, parents of children with special needs must jump through several administrative hoops each year to get the services their children are entitled to by law. The long process begins in the winter when parents begin submitting paperwork for the next year’s services and continues throughout the summer as parents and providers struggle to get reimbursements for the previous years’ services. Over the past few years the Department of Education has made attempts to streamline the process for both parents and providers. However, these attempts have encountered numerous difficulties resulting in increased delays. This not only impacts children who don’t get services but also hundreds of providers who can’t work and as a result can’t earn an income because they have no children to service.
This year parents and providers have had to wait several weeks to receive necessary forms for services. The delays are especially problematic because each day of service is crucial to the student’s development. Providers, unable to get the necessary approvals in a timely manner, are forced to choose between beginning work with their students and risk not being reimbursed for their services or delaying work until everything has been resolved. The DOE reports that the cause of this year’s delays is computer failures which have led to massive slowdowns in processing requests for special education services. DOE has promised Councilman Greenfield that the situation is a top priority and will be resolved as soon as possible.