Legal custody allows you as a parent to make major decisions on behalf of your child. If your child has special needs, legal custody provides you the right to have a voice in your child’s special education program at school. Children identified as having a need for special education and related services are to be provided with a free and appropriate public education. The law requires that a team of individuals develop an Individualized Education Plan for your child. Parents are a part of this team. If the parents are separated but share legal custody of their child, then both parents have equal rights to contribute to the educational plan of their child.

Recently, I worked with the Pennsylvania Bar Association and helped launch a statewide campaign entitled “Have a Voice in Your Exceptional Child’s Education.” “The campaign provides basic information to parents and guardians about the special educational rights of children, information about the evaluation processes that are to be followed to identify disabilities and giftedness, and overviews of the steps schools are to follow to provide educational programs, support and services to address the evaluation findings.”

For more information on this campaign and to learn more about the special education rights of your child, please click here.