You are here

Children's Rights: The Rights of Children and Their Families Who Need or are Receiving Community Services

Rights in Specialized Service Systems

Rights You Keep During Alcohol and Drug Treatment

Your child's rights come from the three basic rights of children who have behavioral health problems:

  • Your child and family have a right to know and understand important information about services and treatment, before you have to make any decisions.
  • Your child and family have a right to be part of making decisions about services and treatment, including decisions about whether or not to take medication.
  • Your child and family have a right to complain about services or treatment if you feel your child's rights or your rights are being restricted or violated.
  • Question to Ask - Does my child need treatment or services for a drug or alcohol addiction?
  • Question to Ask - How can my child get treatment or services that can help?

Right to Protection from Addicted Parent and Others

If a court or a local public children's service agency (PCSA) decides that your child is at risk of abuse or neglect by a parent, guardian or custodian who has a drug or alcohol addiction, your child has some extra protections.

The local PCSA must refer the parent, guardian or custodian, who has the addiction, to an addiction program that is certified by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS). The parent, guardian or custodian may need to go the program for testing, treatment, assessment or services. The PCSA can also refer your child to a drug or alcohol program, if your child has a drug or alcohol addiction.

Right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

It is your child's right to get help and support to learn in a classroom or other place that fits your child's needs.

If your child has a disability, a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) says that your child must get free schooling called special education if he or she qualifies as a child with a disability under the law. You may ask the school to test your child for special education. Sometimes a child needs extra help to learn in special education. The extra help is called "related services." The extra help might be counseling or behavioral management services.

The special education law (IDEA) says your child must get special education in a place that fits your child's needs. That place also must give your child the most freedom possible and the opportunity to learn with children with and without disabilities. This is called getting education in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

If your child gets special education and related services because of the IDEA, your child must have an individualized education program (IEP). The IEP will say what kind of special education and related services your child must get. The IEP will also say where your child will get the special education and related services. For example, your child's IEP might specify a regular or special classroom.

  • Question to Ask - Does my child need an IEP?
  • Question to Ask - What does my child need so she can stay in our neighborhood school?

Even if your child is not living at home, your child must still get the education and related services that the IEP says your child should get, in the placement the IEP says. If your child is living in a residential facility, your child may attend school in a regular classroom at the neighborhood school, or in a classroom on the grounds of the hospital, or your child may have a tutor. The residential facility and your child's school must make sure that your child goes to school as the IEP directs. This is also true if your child is in foster care.

Right to Complain About Special Education Services

It is your child's and your family's right to complain if you think your child is not getting the special education and related services that your child needs, and to ask for changes. This right to complain is called your right to due process. You will want to first talk to the person in your district who is in charge of special education.

Your child and family can complain about not getting special education and services, or not getting the right special education and services. Due process gives your child and family a step-by-step way to complain. Due process also guarantees that your rights will be protected according to what the special education law (IDEA) says. Your child's school district must give you information in writing about your due process rights. The information must be written in a way you understand.

  • Question to Ask - What can I do if I do not agree with my child's IEP? What if the school refuses to give my child behavior management services?

Right to Privacy of Education records

Your family has the right to look at your child's records. Your family has some rights to keep your child's education or school records private. Ohio law and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) give your family these rights to look at your child's records and to keep them private.

  • Question to Ask - Can I have a copy of my child's behavior records?

Records include:

  • your child's education program or classes;
  • what the school says about your child's disability;
  • testing that the school does on your child;
  • your child's behavior and discipline;
  • other personal information about your child;
  • any other records the school keeps on your child.

Generally, the school must keep your child's records private and may not give these records to other people without your written permission. In limited exceptions, the law allows the school to release your child's records without your permission. For example, the school can give information from your child's records to the state and federal governments for certain purposes.

  • Question to Ask - Who besides me can look at my child's records?

Right to Early Intervention Services

It is your young child's right to get services to improve his or her development, and to prevent or improve a developmental delay.

  • Question to Ask - How can I find out if my child needs early intervention services?

If your child is less than three years old and has not developed like children his or her age are expected to develop, your child and family can get early intervention (EI) services. The reason for EI services is to help your child develop and prepare to learn in school.

  • Question to Ask - How can we get early intervention services for my child?

You can find out more about EI services by calling the Help Me Grow program, which manages EI services in Ohio:

Help Me Grow
Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Early Intervention Services
Telephone 800-755-GROW (4769)
TTY call Ohio Relay Service 1-800-750-0750

Rights You Keep in Detention and Juvenile Correction Facilities

If your child is incarcerated or confined, your child has specific rights that have to do with being in a detention center or juvenile correctional facility. Your child's rights will be limited, but your child does keep some rights while confined. In general, your child has the right to a safe and secure environment and a right to food, clothing and recreation. Your child has the right to medical and mental health care and educational services, including special education and related services. Your child has the right to practice his or her religion so long as it can be done safely in the institution. Your child has the opportunity for visits and telephone and mail contact and the opportunity to register complaints when his or her rights are not met.

  • Question to Ask - What rights does my child have while he is in the detention facility?

If your child is in a county detention facility, you can contact the home county juvenile court to get information or help. If your child is in a state facility, you can contact the facility Superintendent to get information or help.

  • Question to Ask - If my child is confined, how do I get information about him or her?

Ohio Department of Youth Services
33 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone 614/466-4314
TTY call Ohio Relay Service 1-800-750-0750

Return to table of contents