New Jersey Department of Education is the home to the following Special Education Offices.
For children (ages 3 to 21) with intellectual or developmental disabilities, local school districts play a lead role in the provision of supports and services – a role that is rooted in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as corresponding New Jersey law. Students with disabilities are entitled to Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Many children receive their education and related services “in-district” through their local schools. Others rely on “out-of-district” schools – public or private – in other parts of the State or possibly in another State, depending on the needs of the student, though to the maximum extent appropriate, students are educated with non-disabled peers. By law, parents have the right to participate in process of developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as members of the IEP team, if the child meets eligibility requirements for Special Education.
If you are concerned about a preschool child or student who may be developing or learning differently, contact the local school district where the child resides. Additionally, under IDEA, all states must have policies and procedures in in place requiring schools to locate, identify and evaluate students with disabilities for special education and related services
Office of Special Education Policy and Dispute Resolution (SPDR)
SPDR has a responsibility under federal statute and regulations to operate a system of general supervision that monitors the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) by local education agencies (LEAs).
SPDR develops the Parental Rights in Special Education required under New Jersey State law. SPDR accepts petitions for mediations, due process hearings, and emergent relief. View information regarding the request for mediation, due process and emergent relief. Petitions for due process may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
View a full list of Special Education Legal Protections and Responsibilities.
Office of the Special Education Ombudsman
The role of the Special Education Ombudsman is to serve as a resource to provide information and support to parents, students and educators regarding special education rights and services. Appointed by the Commissioner of Education, the ombudsman performs duties that include serving as a source of information for parents, students, educators and interested members of the public that helps them better understand state and federal laws and regulations governing special education. The ombudsman also provides information and support to parents of students with disabilities to help them understand and navigate the process for obtaining special education evaluations and services.
To contact the Special Education Ombudsman:
The County Offices of Education are the focal point of general support, oversight and routine communications between local school districts and the Department of Education's central offices. The county offices are the main responders to inquiries from families on most routine matters. A full list of County Office locations, as well as core services and information provided, are located on the County Offices of Education webpage.
New Jersey Guides to Special Education Rights
New Jersey Administrative Code
Other State Resources
United States Department of Education Resource Links