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Summary of October 21, 2015 Child Count Webinar
National Child Count
A link to the archived webinar is now available on the Group News and Events page. We thought that we would also summarize the information provided and the conversations that ensued.
On October 21, 2015, NCDB held a webinar and hosted conversation about the Annual Deaf-Blind Child Count with state deaf-blind project staff. The session was designed to share some basic information and to serve as an opportunity for open conversation to address topics of concern to those participating. Information was shared on the redesign of the Child Count page and where people could locate tools and materials, different ways to access child count information, a brief summary of the 2014 child count, and then some basic information regarding the 2015 child count. During the informal Q&A time was spent focusing on 4 issues. These included: a “Dear Colleague” let from OSEP; the use of a 2 or 4 page form to collect child count information; who is being contacted for updated information; and, issues related to contacting family members, confidentiality and release forms.
Dear Colleague Letter
At the Deaf-Blind Summit session on the child count a call came from participants for a letter from NCDB regarding the Deaf-Blind Child Count to lend some authority to State Deaf-Blind Child Count efforts. Subsequent to the Summit, this was discussed and a decision was made to ask whether OSEP would author such a letter. OSEP agreed, and suggested that it be broader than just the child count.
OSEP is currently in the process of developing and getting approval for such a letter. No timeline has yet been established for when it will be disseminated and made available to State Deaf-Blind Projects and NCDB. Questions and comments related to this letter included:
• Q: Will it be addressed to the SEA or Part B and C entities?
A: Our understanding is that it will be addressed to SEAs, LEAs, Part C Lead Agencies and others within a state.
• Q: Will the letter refer the entities back to the State Deaf-Blind grant?
A: Yes, it is our understanding that it will refer back to the State Deaf-Blind project.
• Q: Can NCDB let us know when the dear colleague letter goes out and give us a copy so we know what SEAs are being told?
A: As soon as we hear from OSEP we will let the network know how it has been disseminated and make a copy available.
• A dear colleague letter will be a huge support in our state.
• We get a memo from Michigan Department of Education in support of the census. It makes a difference! If we could include the letter form OSEP in our mailing, that would be great!
Data Collection Forms
• Q: We do a two-page (front/back) form. Do the 4-pagers have a good return rate?
A: In Michigan, we do not, but I would love to see other forms. Is it possible to get those up on the NCDB site?
(NCDB Response): Yes, we can put out a call as well as review project websites, to collect and post data collection forms used by State Projects.
A: We use the 4-page in Oregon -- but the only reason I get good returns is that it is returned via our state's Regional Programs --and the designated DB consultants follow up with them.
A: In Minnesota we use the 4-page and have about a 60% return rate. I don't know if 60% is considered a good rate or not.
A: We have good success with calling the school district Special Education office and having a data person walk through updates with us by phone. Is that a problem at all?
Data collection contacts
Q: Mark you just commented that a simpler form would be less daunting to a "school district." Are most people sending forms to schools or families?
A: We are sending to schools here in CA
A: Schools in SC
A: Arkansas sends to the LEAs
A: Both in Michigan
A: Schools in NJ
A: School districts in Mississippi
A: Minnesota – schools
A: Schools first then families in Oklahoma
A: Send to our Regional Programs for Low Incidence Disabilities; only on request to families and others in Oregon
Contacting family members, confidentiality and release forms
Q: I've run into problems with families not being aware they are on the registry. Is that an issue in other states?
A: Ours go through the IEP team -- and our Regional program itinerant staff who serve these kids (OR)
A: We have our families sign off that they know they are on the Registry so we don't "put" a child on the Registry without it unless the family is not involved at all (MS)
A: We don't require parental notification but we never contact families from census data without their permission (CA)
A: A few years ago we began to require parental signature our referral for eligibility forms for the same reasons (IL)