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CAR Autism Roadmap
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CAR Autism Roadmap
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Non-Educational Placements


School-age children are sometimes placed in residential programs for reasons not related to the child's educational needs. This may occur, for example, when a child is placed in a behavioral health facility. A student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who is admitted to a residential non-educational facility is still entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Regulations pertaining to non-educational placements vary by state. In Pennsylvania, the student's IEP may need to be modified to reflect a new placement. If the residential facility is in a school district other than the child's home district, the district where the facility is located assumes responsibility for providing FAPE. The student must be attending a school program within five school days of the student's admission to the facility. Until a new IEP is developed, the student must receive services comparable to those in the existing IEP.

In Pennsylvania, it is not assumed that the student will receive educational services at the residential treatment facility; however this is an option where the residential program is licensed as both a non-educational provider (for example, mental health) and as a private school. The decision as to where the child receives educational services is made on a case-by-case basis by the parents and public education personnel. The school district in which the facility is located is required to allow a nonresident student in a residential facility to attend its public schools.

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The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.