The IDEA State Complaint Resource Center – Your Guide to Effective State Complaints!

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The IDEA State Complaint Resource Center is your guide to effective state complaints, one of the dispute resolution options under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IDEA State Complaint Resource Center is hosted by the Advocacy Institute.

The IDEA State Complaint Resource Center is designed to provide parents, advocates and attorneys with information and resources to assist in using the State Complaint process effectively.

We believe the IDEA State Complaint process is underutilized as a tool for improving the compliance and quality of special education programs. The number of written state complaints filed has declined by 15 percent between 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 according to data compiled by CADRE. Yet State Complaints are the only avenue for addressing systemic issues of noncompliance.

When issuing the IDEA Federal regulations in 2006, the U.S. Dept. of Education noted the usefulness of state complaints.

“Through its Part B State complaint procedures, each State has a powerful tool to address noncompliance with Part B of the IDEA and its implementing regulations in a manner that both supports and protects the interests of children and their parents and facilitates ongoing compliance by the State and its public agencies with the IDEA and implementing regulations” (Source: 71 FR 46601 August 14, 2006).

Find Sample Complaints

State Complaint Basics

State by State Information on Filing Complaints

At this State Complaint Resource Center you can Share a Complaint

Or, Spread the Word about this Resource Center with others.

More Resources

Procedural Safeguards and Parent Notice

Want Systemic Change? Use the State Complaints Provisions Under IDEA

Writing the Due Process Letter or State Complaint

  1. I talked to an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) representative and it was suggested to file a complaint with Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) dealing with gaining access and copies of my sons education records. I’ve left three messages for the forms and procedures in the state I live in and haven’t received any call backs for IDEA. All I find online are state complaints and due process information. I live in a state that has little to no representation for students or parents. I am getting no where and under federal regulations I am only allowed so much time and it goes by fast when you can’t find the information or your questions don’t get answered/calls returned.

      • Parent Connection and Disability Rights in South Dakota are of no help with the complaint process. You are on your own with the research and writing of complaints.

        • Hi Shelia, Each state has a Disability Rights agency (sometimes called Protection and Advocacy) to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. The DRA /P&A network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the US. Many Disability Rights agencies select specific issues that create problems in their states.

          To find the contact info for your state, follow this link:

          Here is the contact info for SD:

          Disability Rights of S.D.
          2520 E. Franklin Street
          Pierre, SD 57501
          Phone: 605-224-8294 Voice/TTY
          800-658-4782 Toll Free Voice/TTY
          Fax: 605-224-5125
          Email: drsd at

  2. My fifth grade daughter is diagnosed ASD and ADHD I have been asking two years for an evaluation for IEP, no interventions have ever been put in place for her. This year the school agreed finally to do an evaluation at which time they stated she was not eligible for IEP under special needs, they are now reevaluating her under “other” category. She suffers significantly in school and is doing poorly, the only resources offered to us were 15 minutes extra time with the teacher prior to school starting. Our current IEP evaluation does not end until January however the teachers are already saying “she is lazy and does not want to do the work, also that she does not need extra help.” I feel so lost and am not sure what to do, I am ready to pull her from the school entirely any advice?

  3. In an IDEA complaint, such as 17-070, what does the 070 represent? I know the “17” is for the school year.

  4. If you file a State DOE Complaint, does that remove your right to file due process? As an advocate, a client was told by an attorney that she could not file due process because she had filed a complaint with the State DOE.

    • The state complaint must be held in abeyance until the hearing is over and a decision rendered by the local hearing officer.

  5. If your request during due process is for private school placement at the public expense, and you are following the procedural safeguards, does the requirement to notify the school in writing 10 days prior to withdrawal include, a written notice 10 days before you apply to the private school?

    I am asking for private placement and my application to the private school is due 2/12. Do I need to notify the public school in writing today of my intent to apply for private school?

    • Angela,

      If you have done so I would let the school know that you are going to apply to a private school. Even if you don’t get in it will put the school on notice that you intend to go to a private school.

    • Hi Angela,

      To answer your question: 1) Not completing an individualized assessment
      2) Failing to Address All of a Student’s Needs in the PLAAFP
      3) Failing to Write Ambitious, Measurable Goals
      4) Failing to Monitor Student Progress
      The Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance statement (PLAAFP, or “present levels”) is a key part of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Definition came from parent companions This is where I got the information

      You can always check here about violations or do a google search.

  6. My grandson was born and diagnosed in the NICU with Septo optic dysplasia. He is legally blind, has patituitary gland dysfunction so he is cortisol dependent, doesn’t make thyroid or growth hormone. He was diagnosed later at age 4 with autism. Recently he was diagnosed with ADHD. ON his IEP he has vision, speech and autism listed. He has been assigned a para- professional due to behavioral issues and the lack of fine motor skills. He also has a BIP and is scheduled to go for sensory breaks.

    An ARD had to be called to make a decision on multi- disabilities when I questioned it. He is already been diagnosed with intellectual disability and qualified for HCS waiver services. The ARD refuses. I talked to director who refused as well.

    • It is not clear what the team, & director are refusing to do. If it is about using the label, multiple disabilities, the important thing to remember is that the federal rules say that no matter what label(s) are used all of the child’s must be identified & addressed in the IEP. I work for the TX parent training & information center. If you go to you can find our staff person that works with the area you live in.

    • It is the label multi-disabled. I do not understand what difference checking this box means one way or my child’s educational needs and goals. The determination has been made but I consider him to be and wonder why the district is so adimmate in their decision against it. Thank you for the link. That will be very helpful.

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