Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Home : Division of Special Education

Special Education Listserv

Subject: Private Agency Approval Process/Changes

Source: Margaret Strecker, Director, Compliance

Intended Audience: Administrators, Special Education Administrators, Private Agency Administrators

Date: April 15, 2008

In October 2007, you received a SELS message that stated procedures for private agency approvals had been revised.  As we approach the summer months, it is important for districts and private agency administrators to review procedures for private agency approvals.

New private agency applicants will receive an onsite visit by DESE as part of the application process; in addition, new agencies will also receive a follow-up onsite visit within one year of operation.

Existing approved private agencies will not be visited onsite every five years, as in the past, but will be transitioned to this new process in phases, depending upon the year in which their existing approval expires.  While DESE will no longer be conducting cyclical five year onsite reviews of existing private agencies, we reserve the authority to conduct onsite visits at our discretion.  When the existing approval expires, private agencies will be required to submit (1) an annual assurance statement and (2) agency updates, if applicable, to DESE by June 1 of each year.

Private agencies and school districts need to be aware that background checks for private agency employees are not required by Missouri law (Section 168.133 RSMo).  However, school districts may want to consider requiring background checks of private agency employees who have contact with pupils as a part of their contractual agreement with the private


School districts have the responsibility for ensuring that the Individualized Education Program (IEP) of each child placed in private agencies is implemented as written.  In addition, if the district contracts with the agency for other activities related to the IEP process, such as development of the IEP, evaluations, etc., the district is responsible for ensuring that the process is implemented in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Approved private agencies that provide transportation to students must operate in accordance with all applicable state/local regulations and guidelines.  According to state and federal regulations, only approved school buses may be used to transport more than ten (10) passengers, including the driver.  Other vehicles/vans designed for transporting more than ten (10) passengers, including the driver, may not be used to transport students to or from school or to transport students to or from any place for educational purposes or school purposes unless they were purchased on or before July 1, 2001.  For more detailed information, visit the following website: http://dese.mo.gov/divadm/trans/faq.html

and http://dese.mo.gov/divadm/trans/adminhandmenu.html

Additional information on private agency approvals, assurance statement forms, the application form, and onsite standards are posted on our website at http://dese.mo.gov/divspeced/Compliance/ (click on Approved Private Agency).

If you have questions, you may contact the Compliance Section at webreplyspeco@dese.mo.gov or by calling 573-751-0699.

Search the Division of Special Education


Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Division of Special Education
P.O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Email:  webreplyspe@dese.mo.gov
Phone: 573-751-5739   Fax:  573-526-4404


(Non-Discrimination Statement)

Search | Contact Us | Site Map | FAQ