Today, the U.S. Department of Education is announcing an additional $2.5 million investment to centers that serve a critical role for parents and families of students with disabilities across the nation. These supplemental grants to Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) ensure that all families have the information and training they need to participate effectively in helping their children and navigating the special education system. Two additional grants have been awarded to new Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) in Arkansas and New York.
These programs are part of the national network of 27 existing CPRCs and 65 PTIs. With the goal of supporting parents of the more than 7 million children with disabilities of all ages, from birth through age 26, parent center programs began as a single experimental center more than 45 years ago and have grown into a robust technical assistance program that directs more than $30 million in fiscal year 2023 across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US territories.
“Parents are critical partners in our school communities, ” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “With these new grant funds, the Department of Education is continuing our strong support of the essential partnership between parents of students with disabilities and local schools. Parents, families, and caregivers must be equipped with the quality information they need to advocate for their child and deeply engage in their child’s education. That is truer now more than ever, especially as we know the pandemic impacted students with disabilities in profound ways. These funds will help to ensure students with disabilities are on the road to success. ”
Today’s announcement comes while Secretary Cardona is participating in the Road to Success Bus Tour, a week-long, multi-state road trip that will show the many ways school communities are helping students recover and thrive – putting them on the road to success. On his stops today, he will be visiting a school in Virginia that has prioritized creating a culture of inclusion for all students with disabilities.
During the pandemic, parent centers connected with families of children with disabilities over 1.8 million times. These connections resulted in more parents and families of children with disabilities having the knowledge and information needed to support their children and access the resources needed to meet their academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs, throughout the pandemic and recovery.
PTIs exist in every state and provide training and information to parents of children with disabilities, particularly underserved parents, and parents of children who may be inappropriately identified. CPRCs are operated by local parent organizations and help ensure underserved parents of children with disabilities, including low-income parents, parents of children who are English learners, and parents with disabilities, have the training and information they need to enable them to participate effectively in helping their children.
The Biden-Harris Administration continues its dedication to ensuring that every child in America’s schools has the opportunity to be successful. Part of that commitment is ensuring that states, districts, and schools have the resources they need to effectively support the students and families they serve. This administration has also demonstrated its commitment to meeting the diverse needs of children with disabilities nationwide with a historic request of $18.1 billion for Special Education, increasing regular annual funding for IDEA programs by $4.1 billion over a fiscal year 2022 annualized continuing resolution (CR) based on the fiscal year 2021 appropriation, with investments in state formula grants, personnel development grants, technical assistance, and parent resources.