Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


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Subject: Private Agency Approval Process/Changes
Source: Margaret Strecker, Director, Special Education Compliance

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

Date: October 23, 2007

Procedures for private agency approvals have been revised. As always, new private agency applicants will receive an on-site visit by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as part of the review process; in addition, new agencies will also receive a follow-up on-site visit within one year of operation. However, existing approved private agencies will no longer be visited on-site every five years.

Existing private agencies 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 5 year on-site reviews of existing private agency, we do reserve the authority to conduct on-site 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 the DESE by June 1st 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 agency.

Oversight of private agencies remains the responsibility of the Division of Special Education; however, it has moved from the Funds Management Section to the Compliance Section. School districts have the responsibility for ensuring that the IEPs of children placed in private agencies are 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).

Additional information on private agency approvals and copies of the revised application and on-site standards are posted on our website at http://www.dese.mo.gov/divspeced/Compliance.
If you have questions, you may contact the compliance section at webreplyspeco@dese.mo.gov or by calling 573-751-0699.

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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


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