Maryland State Department of Education Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch

Most schools and special educators are in it for the love of the job. They want to see our children succeed. Even if progress is incremental or can only be gauged in smiles, they take on the responsibility of educating our children because they have a tremendous sense of pride in their work. BUT… what if there’s a problem? What if you​ find yourself in a position where you have no voice. Where you have taken off work and sat at your child’s school so many times you can’t remember? What if you suspect that your child’s IEP is not being followed? Where do you go for help? In the State of Maryland there is the Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch which is part of the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). From the MSDE website

The Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch fosters family engagement and positive family/system partnerships through the provision of technical assistance and support to a statewide network of family support specialists serving families of children with disabilities.

The Branch facilitates informal dispute resolution by responding to parent inquiries, assisting parents with navigating Maryland’s early intervention and special education systems, and connecting parents with community resources and local personnel who can assist with concerns.

Additionally, the Branch ensures the dispute resolution processes under the IDEA are available and conducted in accordance with all requirements. Staff investigate and resolve formal State complaints that allege violations of State and federal IDEA requirements regarding the special education of students with disabilities and maintains data and reports on the dispute resolution processes, including complaint investigations, mediations, and due process hearings.

For additional information about the Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch click here.



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External Resources

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The Blue Ribbon Project: supporting victims of child abuse and youth in foster care

Faces of PTSD