Education Law

Special Education: DOD Programs and Services for Military-Dependent Students with Disabilities

Quick Details

The Office of Protection has help applications for military services families with children with disabilities in K-12 colleges. For example, university liaisons aid households navigate specific instruction and other products and services.

By way of 2 applications, DOD supplies funding to college districts that serve sizeable numbers of army-dependent students. Just one application health supplements a district’s general funds—with no specifications on how the money is used. The other method offers cash to assist military services-dependent little ones with extreme disabilities. School districts must apply for the money and student eligibility for this method varies by point out.

Special Education: DOD Programs and Services for Military-Dependent Students with Disabilities


What GAO Discovered

A wide variety of Division of Protection (DOD) programs support military services people who have children with disabilities in preK-12 universities. Faculty Liaisons are the major contacts for military people with preK-12 students who find help, together with exclusive training troubles. Four DOD officials advised GAO that it is complicated to link with people who are unaware of University Liaison expert services. DOD recently implemented an agency-extensive communications plan, such as the use of social media, to emphasize the School Liaison plan (see determine). Also, in response to current congressional path, all four armed solutions expanded particular instruction legal assistance available to people possessing little ones with disabilities.

Figure: Graphic from Military OneSource Party Highlighting the College Liaison System

Figure: Image from Military OneSource Event Highlighting the School Liaison Program

Resource: Section of Protection (DOD), Military OneSource ( ) ǀ GAO22105015

Notice: DOD refers to Navy OneSource as its “24/7 gateway to trusted details, sources, and confidential assistance.”

DOD monetarily supports college districts that serve sizeable quantities of navy-dependent college students by two applications:

  • DOD Influence Aid Supplemental Aid cash usually dietary supplement college districts’ basic money, according to faculty district officers. These resources are not necessary by statute to be used for particular reasons or to be specific immediately at supporting military services-dependent pupils.
  • Little ones with Severe Disabilities resources (CWSD) are provided to faculty districts to reimburse them for prices incurred to offer eligible children with disabilities a free suitable education and learning. College districts have to apply for CWSD, a process some university officials and advocates described as time consuming. Mainly because university district eligibility for CWSD may differ by point out and a kid’s exclusive instruction providers may differ by point out, any offered kid’s costs might not be suitable for reimbursement in every single college district that kid attends.

Why GAO Did This Study

Little ones in U.S. army families may well transfer schools 9 periods, on average, in advance of they graduate from high school. These moves may well be primarily tough for youngsters with disabilities and their people, as distinctive education expert services offered beneath the Men and women with Disabilities Education and learning Act—the major federal unique schooling law—must be re-recognized with each and every new school. Sections 589G and 589H of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry Nationwide Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 contain provisions for GAO to take a look at and report on a vary of army children’s training difficulties.

This report presents info on two broad subject locations: (1) DOD systems that give help to navy people owning little ones with disabilities and (2) DOD packages that assist faculty districts that serve armed forces people.

GAO analyzed information on DOD Influence Aid plans. GAO also (1) held four dialogue teams with DOD officers, symbolizing all 4 military solutions, dependable for supplying assist to military families with children with disabilities (2) interviewed officials at six school districts, chosen centered on their proximity to navy installations and eligibility for certain federal money and (3) interviewed officers from DOD and associates of countrywide advocacy groups for armed service children. GAO also reviewed suitable federal guidelines, rules, and direction.

For more information and facts, contact Jacqueline M. Nowicki at (617) 788-0580 or [email protected]

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