Special Education and Regional Center Blog
Helping Parents Navigate the Special Education, the Regional Center, and IHSS program.
What is a CDE Compliance Complaint
If the district is not following the IEP or has violated special education law or procedure, you could consider filing a Compliance Complaint with the California State Department of Education (CDE). Some reasons to file a Compliance Complaint would be failure to provide a service in the IEP, failure of the district to follow timelines, or failure to implement a due process hearing decision or mediation agreement. Compliance Complaints can include violations that happened one year prior to filing the complaint.
Sometimes it makes sense to file a Compliance Complaint when it is clear that a district is not following the IEP or to compel the district to comply with a settlement agreement. Sometimes due process might be more apporiate such as when alleging lack of FAPE or for violations longer than a year ago. (Here is a blog post about due proces.)
After the Complaint is filed, the CDE will then investigate and determine whether the district was “out of compliance” with the law or with the student’s IEP. The CDE could order the district back into compliance and to submit a “corrective action plan.”
Form of Compliance Complaint
In the letter to the CDE you should include:
You also need to send a copy of the complaint to the district.
See Model Complaint Form here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa/cmplntproc.asp
Where to File Complaint
Send complaints by mail, fax, or email to:
California Department of Education
Special Education Division
Procedural Safeguards Referral Service (PSRS)
1430 N Street, Suite 2401
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901
Fax: 916-327-3704 (Attention: Complaint Resolution Unit)
E-mail signed PDF or scanned request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Investigation of the Complaint
After you file the complaint, the CDE has 60 days to carry out any necessary investigation and to resolve the complaint. In some situations, the 60 day timeline maybe extended. An investigator will contact you and the district to gather information. Other information can be gathered through reviews of service logs and schedules, assessments, IEPs and other on-site investigations.
Once the CDE makes its determination, they must immediately notify you of its decision. If the investigation determines a failure by the district to comply with the law, the CDE may require “corrective action.” The corrective actions could include: convene a new IEP meeting, conduct further assessments, submit plans outlining proposals to correct violations and prevent future ones, initiate personnel training in the areas of violations, provide compensatory education or reimbursement, review and revise procedures and practices, and/or participate in monitoring and reporting activities. The CDE investigation report must set forth the timelines the district must follow to correct its violations.
If you Disagree with the Report
You, or the district can request reconsideration of the Investigation Report if you do not agree with the Report. If you don’t agree with the report, within 35 days after receiving the report you should submit a written request identify the finding(s), conclusion(s), or corrective action(s) about which there is disagreement. You should also provide any documentation or other information not previously considered. The CDE has 35 days to review the reconsideration and issue a final investigation report.
What happens if corrective actions are not completed?
The CDE ensures compliance by applying a range of sanctions.