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Information Update Bulletin 02.01

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TO: District Administrators, CESA Administrators, CCDEB Administrators, Directors of Special Education and Pupil Services, and Other Interested Parties
FROM: Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy
SUBJECT: Interagency Agreement between the Department of Public Instruction, Department of Health and Family Services, Wisconsin Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, and Wisconsin Sovereign Tribal Nations

The first interagency agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Wisconsin Head Start was signed in 1981 and revised in 1992. These agreements focused on the roles and responsibilities for each agency regarding services to children with disabilities ages three to five. In 1992 and 2000 the DPI and the Department of Health and Family Services signed agreements specific to child find, transition, and services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and/or developmental delays.

Since these initial agreements, the level of interagency partnerships within the state has expanded and early childhood programs have engaged in a wide variety of collaborative efforts. These partnerships were driven by the desire to serve children with disabilities and/or developmental delays in settings with their non-disabled peers. At the state level, it was decided to expand the collaborative interagency agreement to involve the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services Birth to 3 Program, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, the Wisconsin Sovereign Tribal Nations, Wisconsin Head Start Programs, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The purpose of this agreement is to provide a state level framework that guides and supports the development of collaborative efforts and local interagency agreements related to services for young children with disabilities and their families. This agreement describes the roles, responsibilities, requirements, and best practices strategies for community programs as they work together to improve the system of services available to eligible children and their families. This new agreement reaffirms and builds on earlier cooperative efforts and offers specific collaborative strategies around child find, referral/evaluation, referral timelines, evaluations, individualized planning/service delivery, transition, and additional cooperative arrangements. This agreement provides guidelines to maximize resources and avoid duplication of services.

This agreement should be utilized as the basis for renewed and expanded discussions among the local school districts, Birth to 3 programs, Head Start programs, and when relevant, with the Head Start Migrant Program and with the individual Wisconsin Sovereign Tribal Nations. We strongly believe that through these discussions, communities will find new and improved methods to establish systems to better support young children with disabilities and their families.

Questions regarding this bulletin may be directed to Jill Haglund, Early Childhood Consultant, Department of Public Instruction, 125 South Webster Street, P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841, (608) 267-9625.