The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 focuses on the need for families of children with disabilities to partner with educators to create better outcomes for students. In order to support the important role of families in the educational process, staff from the Divisions for Special Education and from other divisions such as Title 1 partner with individuals from state and private agencies to support families on a daily basis. In addition, the Divisions partner with parents through the State Advisory Panel for Special Education, the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership, and school districts' special education stakeholder groups. The Divisions also collaborate on leadership training and communication resources with the state's major parent/family education and advocacy groups. A family engagement specialist on staff advises the Divisions on ways to increase parent engagement and build partnerships between educators and parents ultimately leading to better student outcomes. It is the goal of Georgia's parent initiatives to create a collaborative community of parents and educators to increase student achievement for students with disabilities. Part of the work includes collaborating with members of the Parent Leadership Coalition, which includes family engagement partners within the GaDOE, particularly Title 1 Parent Involvement Coordinators, and other state agencies and organizations.
For more GaDOE information on families, please go to the parent link in the Site Guide on the Georgia DOE homepage.
If a parent is concerned about an issue pertaining to his or her child, call 404-656-3963 and ask to speak to the District Liaison from the county where the child attends. For information on statewide parent initiatives, particularly the Parent Mentor Partnership, contact Patti Solomon, Parent Liaison at (404) 656-3963 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Websites and Partners
The Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership (GaPMP) is a state initiative designed to build home and school communication and collaboration. A school district employs a parent of a child with a disability to assist the district in bridging the gap between home and school. Parent mentors work to embed family engagement into all of the school’s improvement activities. By using the PTA National Parent Engagement Standards, parent mentors strive to increase family engagement at each tier of the Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions. Nearly 90 parent mentors are employed in 80 school districts. The link above to the new Parent Mentor Toolkit, outlines the GaPMP’s work. To learn more about the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership, or to locate your local parent mentor visit the partnership’s website at www.parentmentors.org.
Educational resources and support services for families of children with disabilities are available at Parent to Parent of GA. (P2P), a statewide resource hub and parent network that enhances parents’ knowledge and skills related to access to education, advocacy, parenting, and community supports. P2P is the state’s Parent Training and Information Center (PTI). P2P’s services include a county-by-county database that lists services and resources such as:
- a navigation map depicting the education journey in a family friendly format; a referral service to assist with educational concerns;
- a list of trainings at the local, regional, and state levels;
- a parent leadership program;
- one-on-one support from another parent; and
- parent partners highly-trained in IDEA and school issues
As Georgia's PTI, Parent to Parent is part of a nationwide network of training centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education. For more information on the services provided to parents, educators, and other interested parties by Parent to Parent and Georgia’s PTI, visit www.p2pga.org or call 800-229-2038 or 770-451-5484. A trained parent is available to answer calls from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Babies Can't Wait (BCW) educators provide information and guidance for families of children under the age of three. BCW educators provide one-on-one support to families. For more information on BCW, visit their website at health.state.ga.us/programs/bcw.
The Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO), the state's protection and advocacy office, offers a series of trainings designed to teach parents how to advocate for their children with disabilities. To participate in the Parent Leadership Support Project (PLSP) send your name and contact information to email@example.com . For more information on the other services provided by the GAO, visit their website at www.thegao.org.
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) works to create system change for persons with disabilities through public policy, research, special projects, education, and training. GCDD supports numerous parent and self-advocacy support projects such as Project Search, Self Led IEPs and Self Determination in Georgia. To learn more about GCDD and their projects, visit their website at www.gcdd.org.