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What happens if my child needs services after high school?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts
Created February, 2022

Your child can get special education services as long as they are in high school. And they can stay in high school until they turn 22.

Your child can stay in school, wait to graduate and keep getting IEP services, even if they passed MCAS and met graduation requirements.

The Team should decide the appropriate time for your child to graduate. The Team should make this decision at least 1 year before your child graduates. If you believe your child is not ready to graduate, and they are under 22, talk to the Team about it. You can reject your child’s graduation date. Tell the team:

  • My child should have made progress towards their IEP goals.
  • My child does not have the basic skills they need for adult life, and
  • My child should stay in school to get more transition services.

After high school

The school should refer your child to the adult service agency they will work with:

  • At least 2 years before your child graduates, or
  • When your child turns 20.

After the school refers your child to an adult service agency. Staff at the agency, your child's school, you and your child write an Individual Transition Plan (ITP). The ITP describes:

  • The kinds of support your child needs because of their disability when they leave school and become an adult.
  • The adult agency that is responsible for providing services.
  • The location where services will be provided.
  • How long the services may last.

The Massachusetts adult service agencies are:

Adult services are only available if the agency has enough money in its budget. If your child is eligible for services, but the agency does not have enough money in the budget, the agency can ask the state for more money for the next year. So apply for services before your child will need the services. See a referral form.

For more information: Chapter 688 referral

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