Why Won’t the School Provide Homebound Instruction?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My child’s doctor recommended homebound instruction. The school said they had the authority to override that recommendation. Why won’t the school provide homebound services?

Issues of homebound are determined in part by state law and state regulations, if any, on the subject.

IDEA 2004 and the federal regulations provide no guidance on this issue.

However, if your child has an IEP, the IEP controls the services, regardless of where they are delivered – at home or in the public school.

The IEP team determines what the child requires in order to receive FAPE, i.e., a free appropriate public education.

Placing a child on homebound is a very restrictive placement.

As a general rule, a homebound placement is only appropriate if a child has a health or medical problem that prevents the child from attending school.

Homebound Placement for Behavior Issues

We are seeing many cases where the school/IEP team places a child with behavior problems in “homebound” for weeks or months because they don’t know how to handle the child’s behavior.

In a nutshell, the school removes the child from school. The child may receive a couple of hours of instruction a week and no contact with other kids.

In these instances, the school needs to do a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and design a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) as soon as possible.

Documentation: The parent who has documented the problems and their attempts to solve them, will be in a stronger position to request an IEP team meeting and an IEP that addresses the problem behaviors.

Homebound Services for Medical Issues

If a child has a medical condition that requires homebound instruction, the doctor needs to document this in detail.

  • what is the condition?
  • what will the child need?
  • how long will the child need this service?

Documentation: The parent needs to document the child’s problems, what caused them to worsen, attempts made to help the child, etc.


  1. I have a friend that lives in MN and because of her son’s seizures they have decided he can not return to school. They are offering one hour a day in home instructions. The family would like to enroll him in a hospital/day service program for education instruction instead of the one hour a day in home instruction. Is this a reasonable request and what laws can they cite to get him these services?

    • Monica, you wrote, “because of her son’s seizures they have decided he can not return to school.”
      Is “they” the school or did the parents decide he could not return to school?
      If the child has a current IEP or Section 504 Plan, the the school is responsible for providing the child with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

      When Congress enacted IDEA (the special ed law), they knew all children would not be able to attend classes in their local public school. The law includes the LRE requirement which means schools “must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.”

      This continuum of placements must include instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.

      Since the school is offering one hour of homebound instruction a day, it’s hard to imagine how the school can provide all the special education and related services needed to meet this child’s needs. The hospital based program is far more likely to provide him with a FAPE.

      I expect your friend will need help to get a better deal from the school. She needs to contact her state Parent Training Information Center. The PTI in Minn is Pacer. Pacer has an excellent rep for helping parents in many ways.
      PACER Center, Inc.
      8161 Normandale Boulevard
      Minneapolis, MN 55437-1044
      Email: pacer | at | pacer.org
      Web: http://www.pacer.org

    • This is 100% illegal and you need to find you a good advocate!!!!! Maybe even a lawyer¡ All he’s required to have is a one-on-one!!!! My son is 12 he has seizures as well with multiple other special needs and he’s been in school we’ve had problems with them but they didn’t tell him he wasn’t allowed to come!! PS we live in NC!!!

  2. My live in South Carolina. My daughter was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She was hospitalized for a week. Her doctor wrote her original prescription but on her last check up the doctor refused to refill the prescription and told My daughter to go back to the mental facility if she needed help. Ieet with her school and because of her condition they wanted to put her on homebound. The doctor refused to sign the paperwork and I have tried everything to get this paperwork signed. Now the school wants to expell her for days missed. What can I do?

    • Hi Laura, Since COVID hit, millions of kids are having major mental health problems. The school needs to help her, not threaten to punish her. But the school may not realize what she’s going through.

      I don’t know if you are asking the right questions. Does your child have an IEP that includes special education services, related services, and supplementary aids and services?

      If your daughter could get the counseling and medication she needs, would she need a homebound placement? If she goes on homebound, the odds are high that she will drop out.

      Assume she can get counseling and the medication she needs. Could she attend school – part-time? Perhaps she could start with one hour or one class and work up to more classes as she adjusts.

      Have you met with anyone at school to explain that your daughter has severe problems with anxiety and depression, so severe that she was hospitalized, but she hasn’t been able to get the counseling and medication she needs?

      That’s your first step. You need to request – in writing – a meeting with the IEP team. Explain how your daughter’s circumstances have changed. Her IEP needs to be revised to reflect these changes, including the mental health issues. Her IEP can be amended to include related services that could help her benefit from special education. (see a list of related services at the end of this post)

      If the IEP team can’t or won’t help, request – in writing – a meeting with the principal. Your goal is to help the principal see her as a young girl who desperately needs help. Ask them to withdraw the expulsion threat. If the school expels her, it’s very likely she will never return to school. Don’t put this off!

      “The term ‘related service’ means transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, social work services, school nurse services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education as described in the individualized education program of the child, counseling services,
      including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services, except that such
      medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with
      a disability to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children . . .

  3. Never got the hours of 4 hrs per week as agreed upon at school authorizes
    The passed it off as the parent had schedule issues

  4. Can they force the student to meet them in a public place. Auto immune problem in this case, which would jeopardize the students well being.

  5. I am ESE teacher in Florida. I am also a coach for a Florida Future Problem Solving Group who wishes to assist hospital homebound students by offering emotional support, holding video chats, skype, etc, and assisting in anyway with school work. I am interested in hearing some of the parent input on their experiences with hospital homebound education and how your child faired socially, emotionally, and educationally, when he or she returned to school

    • Dealing with ese services in palm beach county has been a nightmare since day 1. Recently my daughters hospital homebound services because they decided that referring my daughter to a neurologist prior to throwing medication at anxiety with an unknown etiology doesn’t qualify as a treatment plan. So
      She is currently getting no education at all

  6. My son is 15 years old and was diagnosed at 3 of having aspergers. He has had an iep since kindergarten. Although he is high function he is terrified of social situations. Especially school.. it got to the point last year he stopped going altogether. I begged and begged for the school to help me figure out a solution so he can get his education. I have signed him up for this coming year and the school has already threatened me that if he doesnt attend they will be taking us to court and possible juvinelle detention. He currently sees a nuerologist, counselors ect. Can the school do this? What can I do? Is homeschooling an option and how do I do this?

    • Isn’t it just awful the lengths the schools take so that they don’t have to use surplus funds to alternatively educate a child, or that their school doesn’t show any “misfits” in attendance?! You must know that it’s ALL about the money – somewhere along the line. We are dealing with this now and have been to court twice! The first time the judge ruled (not ordered) that she be educated in the alternative way that she did for three terms before and that she excelled at (Homebound).
      So to do that the school wanted yet another note from the doctor; we supplied that. Then they wanted a form completed by her doctor; we supplied that! They STILL refused to educate her. Back at court last week where the school lied to the judge saying we didn’t provide the form. Um, I have the email I sent with the completed form as well as the school confirming receipt of said form. It has been an absolute nightmare and I WILL file a formal complaint. The kicker is that she has scored mostly in the “college pathway” on the standardized testing every term – even without going to school!! But now we are stuck!! They will now do an evaluation to determine services but ya know darn well it won’t be what she needs!!

  7. Hi, I’m 17 and have fibrous dysplasia. It causes swelling and pain, with migraines so I was homeschooled for three years. On the day before Christmas the teacher said she would see me when Christmas break was over but she never came back because she said my doctor needed to fill out a form to put me back on homebound however after we gave the school the papers the teacher nevermind came back out. And I’ve been out of school for long like 5 or 6 months. Does this mean they denied it? They won’t tell us anything

  8. My daughter 17 year old suffer from fybromialgia. its alot of pain and strong headaches on and off. she is homebound for first time in the last 4 months and is about to end. im applyng again, any suggestion to write in the forms so she is not denied?

  9. Do schools have the right to decline you homebound services if you have a doctor who wants you to be on homebound and has brought it up with the school you attend?

  10. My daughter is suffering from severe anxiety due to bullying at her school. Her pediatrician and therapist have dined papers saying she needs to be homebound. She goes to her cheer gym. Her therapist says don’t take that away from her. That it is important for her healing. Her district is denying her for homebound. Does this seem fair?

  11. I went to iep meeting and there was two choice put him back in the behavior classroom were they have restrainted or this. Is that fair to my child.

    • Yes. I haven’t my read through all state laws so I can only say 100% in Illinois that is the case, however this article is pretty old and there has been better guidance from a federal standpoint And multiple judgements against school district. Check understood.org for more current Information

      • Hi MomWjfh2, You say there is better guidance from the feds about homebound placements and/or whether homebound services need to be provided by a special ed teacher.

        If you are aware of better guidance on this topic, please let us know. Shoot a few links our way. We always want to give people the best info available. Thanks!

  12. I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice or information on the homebound program in South Carolina? I am trying to get my daughter into the program she has been attending Cyber Academy of South Carolina for the past 3 years she has been having a lot of problems. She has been in therapy and under doctors care for those 3 years she has severe anxiety very bad panic attacks things are so bad with homeschool right now the doctor and therapist want her on medication. The doctor and therapist both and myself want her in homebound . Can anyone tell me what I need to do to get this done?

    • I am from Beaufort Sc. My daughter has been on Homebound since October, she has been diagnosed with severe depression, she has panic and anxiety attacks. Its been nothing but problem after problem. Read up on SC regulations for Homebound and also the district your in. Good Luck

  13. I gave the school a doctors note for home bound services due to medical. He just had a major surgery and is recouping to get ready for another surgery, and the school has denied him Home bound serves. Do I have to take him to school?

    • our public school said mydaughter either has to go to the school after school to get a education or to the public library in pa. they refuse to have teacher come to home. is this legal

      • Wow- no- they tried this with me. #1 weapon you have is knowledge. Don’t just know your rights, know the law and which court cases apply to you. It’s less time consuming than you expect,and will make a big difference. EVERY reference to homebound instruction is in the home or hospital setting. Libraries do not count

  14. How many hours per day/week can be provided/asked for if a child cannot attend for medical reasons. Does it have to be a certified teacher doing this or can it be a para?
    I am confused on my states law, looks like only five hours of homebound. I am in Missouri…. thanks

  15. My child received several months of homebound education. Later, the district altered medical recommendations which resulted in litigation lasting over four years now. Next week, I will be filing appeal to the US Supreme Court to provide guidance on this issue.

  16. My daughter is 8, suffers from cyllic vomiting or cvs, has an iep. We are in the hospital about once a month due to these episodes. A friend brought homebound instruction up to me. Im wondering if this would benefit my daughter. We live in a small community. She loves the social part of school, but honestly I dont see her getting much help academically anymore. She is above most of the students her ILC class who have other issues. Im thinking I would have to bring this up with her teacher or district special ed?

    • Tracy I know this is a few years old but I am going to answer. It sounds like your daughter due to her condition has to miss a lot of school. I think homebound services would be perfect for her. She has to be evaluated before she can receive services. As far as the social aspects if you do get homebound services look around your community to see what clubs and organizations your daughter can join to help her interaction with other kids

  17. My Grandson recently had an IEP and I as his Legal Guardian opted for homebound services due to his severe health issues including Prader Willi. The Special Services Director (who failed to attend the IEP) and after it, by phone indicated to me that “she approved” it even though by law her approval is not necessary and that she would only approve it for the the rest of the school year. My Grandson does not walk and needs changing because of non-bathroom capability. He has hypotonia, hypothyroidism, hearing problems, learning disabilities, etc. I have found no set time for how long homebound services can be utilized in IDEA rules or regulations…or that she has the right to dictate such as above….and I plan to file a complaint with the district.

  18. I have provided homebound instruction to a chronically ill student for 2 years. She is 16 and I have known her through the school system since she was 8. She used to go to school. I can do a lot in the hours I spend with her because we don’t have all the interruptions of the regular school day. What I can’t do is provide her with friends. She can’t talk so I can’t set up a telephone pal. She so wants to be with other kids her age. She has no social outlet such as church or clubs. Just something to think about when a child has only homebound services.

    • I am a mother of a child that is medically fragile. I do understand that having a child with severe medical needs is a balancing act. I want my child to have a quality life and be connected with other peers to learn and grow, but with that their are many risks involved. Just last night i dressed my son up for trick or treating and he passed out candy at the door. He loved the experienced! Today he is now sick and in bed. As a mother I want to protect him from the world and all its germs, but to what extend is real living?

  19. Valerie, I have never worked in a school district that did not serve students with such severe problems and needs. One thing to remember is “special education” is a service not a place. I saw a wonderful program where the severely involved student had services in a regular elementary classroom with her own special education teacher. While the child had limited responses, she seemed to love attention from her classmates who definitely felt a bond with her. I know of a very small district that hired one teacher for one child because the child needed a specialized program for his medically fragile needs. A Free and Appropriate Education must be provided for every child. A pet peeve of mine is when someone says “we don’t have a program for him/her.” The Individualized Education Plan is the child’s program.

  20. Kassie, there might be confusion about the law. Idaho law 33(1003a) defines a homebound student. Services do not begin until the 11th day the student is absent due to illness. This certainly be problematic if a child is chronically I’ll and out ten days, back five days, out eight days, back 3 days. I did not read Any limitation to the services such as one time only. Ask for a copy of the law with that specific section highlighted. Some states differentiate between services for students served in special education and those served in general education. In those cases be sure you are asking the right person. Lastly, For example, in my state, the district may provide homebound for a child expected to be confined for any period of time that is at least 4 weeks throughout the school year.

  21. can a high risk pregnancy be eligible for a 504 plan? Do anyone know where I can find this information?

  22. my daughter is currently on homebound services through the school. The administration comes off as quite the bullies when it comes to continuing the services rendered. It is still unknown to us what the cause of her illness is stemming from. We are still having tests run to find out. the special ed director stated that they are only allowed to give the students these services one time. They cant have these services again if such a situation rendered it. Is this true? is there a limitation to the usage of these types of services in the state of Idaho

  23. My son has dr. Recomended homebound but iep team is wanting to override it because the first paper was unclear and I didn’t want to get in trouble 4 him not being in school. I let him go one day they said he did fine. I was there and I heard him being loud in his iep class and saw the frustration on her face, so I know that was a lie. then I went and sat in the truck all day and went to rest room one time and they stopped me saying he was fine. He has meltdowns, cries uncontrollably, hits himself, hits me, his dad, when angry curses, acts on impulse. the dr he has now has him listed as autistic disorders and says we need to get him stabilized. What do I do? I am going to homeschool him. asap

  24. My 17 year old daughter has a 504 plan for a learning disability in reading comprehension. She is now 19 weeks pregnant and has had horrible nausea and vomiting. The doctor has had her on homebound from August to November 7. She takes Zofran daily and many times it does not work, so she has to take Phenergan. The Phenergan makes her very sleepy and drowsy, thus not able to concentrate. She becomes nauseated and vomits at the slightest smell. She cannot even walk into many places because of the smells. The doctor says that she can return to school and refuses to extend her homebound. She has been completing all of the assignments that the teachers reluctantly provide. She is horrified at returning to the school environment because she doesn’t want to throw up there. She has been to the hospital b/c of dehydration for this. What can I do?

  25. Can we request homebound instruction and go to school on a limited basis for a medically fragile child? So half a day at school half a day at home.

  26. I am interesting in finding out what can be done with my grandson. He is very special need, to the pt that he is just above a vegatated state, my daughter has been threatened with truancy… there has to be something in place for these kids.

  27. Had similar issue w/my daughters 1)school couldn’t find placement so due to behavioral health we used homebound instruction. School never followed IEP and now SOL prevents us from corrective actions.

    2nd child was due to complex medical and 6wk hospitalization. Never received the homebound instruction and are now pursuing it. Its my experience some schools feel they send a tutor home they’re all set. Others, if the child is in and out regularly, leave it to the child to catch up. For my med complex kid, caused more emotional harm that we’re still dealing with today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please help us defeat spam. Thank you. *