St. Mary’s County Public Schools maintains a Child Find program that serves children from birth to age 21. The Child Find program is responsible for locating, identifying, and evaluating children who are potentially in need of special education services.
Referral Process-Updated January 2022
Ages Birth to Three: All children with suspected delays or disabilities are referred to the St. Mary’s County Single Point of Entry at the below number. An intake interview will be completed and an evaluation scheduled. If the child is determined eligible for services they will be provided through the St. Mary’s County Infants and Toddlers Program.
Ages Three through Five: Children with suspected disabilities are referred to the St. Mary’s County Single Point of Entry. An intake interview, a developmental screening and Parent/Guardian Questionnaire will be completed. The child will be referred to the Child Find IEP team for review and recommendations for evaluation.
Children of Mandatory School Age Enrolled in Non-Public Schools: Students currently enrolled in nonpublic schools that are suspected of having a disability should be referred to their neighborhood public school for screening and evaluation.
Children of Mandatory School Age Enrolled in Approved Home Instruction Programs: Families will refer their child to the Single Point of Entry for intake and screening.
For more information about the Child Find Program or to make a referral to Child Find, please contact:
Coordinator of Special Education:
Where are the Child Find IEP Team Meetings conducted?
Child Find IEP Team Meetings are held at the SMCPS Central Administration Building. Meetings may also be conducted virtually.
How long does the process typically take once a referral is made to Child Find?
Parents should expect to receive a phone call in response to their referral within 2-3 business days. During the phone intake, background information will be collected. A phone call from a member of the child find team will be made to set up a time to conduct the screening. According to MSDE requirements, once a referral is made to Child Find, the IEP Team has 90 days from the date of the written referral or 60 days from parent signature on the Consent for Assessment to complete the assessments (if deemed necessary) and to review the assessments at an IEP Team Meeting.
What is the focus of the Child Find referral, screening and assessment process?
The purpose of the Child Find referral, screening and assessment process is to screen and assess for a possible educational disability. If the IEP Team recommends a formal assessment after reviewing the screening data, then the IEP Team suspects that a child may have an educational disability.
Will my child be assessed automatically if he or she has completed the Child Find Screening?
No. The IEP Team may, upon review of the screening data (including parent input and other sources of documentation), determine that there is no suspected educational disability. The developmental screening will provide the team the necessary information to determine if development is typical.
I may be unable to attend a meeting in person. Can I participate by phone?
Yes. Parental involvement in this process is key to a child’s success. If you would like to participate by phone, please indicate that on your IEP Team Written Notice or let the Special Education staff know of this request when you confirm your attendance.
Do I have to have my child assessed if that is the recommendation of the IEP Team?
No. As a parent, you do not have to consent to the initial assessment of your child. The Procedural Safeguards and Parental Rights document outlines this for families.
If I change my mind about the assessment process does my child have to be assessed?
No. As a parent, you have the right to revoke your consent for the assessment. If this is your desire, contact your IEP Chairperson in writing and communicate that you are revoking your consent for the assessment. An IEP meeting may be scheduled to discuss your concerns.
If my child qualifies as a child with a disability through the Child Find process, does this ensure acceptance into SMCPS Pre-Kindergarten?
No. Pre-Kindergarten is a program that has legal mandates to serve students who meet income eligibility requirements. Students may be accepted into Pre-Kindergarten if there are documented risk factors as defined by the Pre-Kindergarten program guidelines. Questions about Pre-Kindergarten eligibility and enrollment should be directed to Ms. Cynthia Kilcoyne, Coordinating Supervisor of Early Childhood Programs at 301-475-5511 ext. 32218.
Are there special arrangements or considerations for inclement weather days?
Yes. If schools are closed for inclement weather all meetings will be cancelled and rescheduled when school resumes.