Child Find & Identification

Updated September 2020

General Description
Child Find is a set of activities used to identify children from birth to 21 years old, inclusive (34 CFR § 300.125 34 CFR 300.451) who may need special education programs and services. Schools are required to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21. The Child Find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including children who attend private schools and public schools, highly mobile children, migrant children, homeless children, and children who are wards of the state. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)) This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are "advancing from grade to grade." (34 CFR 300.111(c)) The law does not require children to be "labeled" or classified by their disability. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d)).

Every SELPA and school district is required to have procedures in place to help locate students who may need special education services. Parents should contact either the SELPA office or their local school district if they have questions about referring a child for special education services. Each public school site within the SELPA has information on how to initiate a referral for special education services.

In addition, SELPAs, school districts or Local Education Agencies (LEA) conduct a variety of activities to "find children" who may be in need of special education services by using the following:

  • News media (annual submission by the SELPA for the districts)
    Presentation to community groups
  • LEA and Contra Costa SELPA publications and web sites
  • Dissemination to public/private agencies of lists of services available
  • Parent notices about programs available
  • Vision and hearing screening
  • Language and speech screening
  • Reading and mathematics screening by regular classroom teacher at his/her discretion
  • Standardized testing programs
  • Classroom screenings by special education staff

Search Procedures
Various means of communication shall be utilized in a continuing community awareness process including newspapers, television and posted public notices. The Contra Costa SELPA and member LEAs work closely with public agencies, such as Regional Center of the East Bay, Head Start, California Children's Center Services, Mental Health, and others as appropriate, in the identification of individuals with disabilities.

Student Study Team
The Student Study Team (SST) is a school site team established through general education to serve as a review process for students who encounter problems in the general education program. The team can use a systematic problem-solving approach to assist students who are not demonstrating satisfactory progress by using Response to Intervention (RTI). RTI is a process in which scientifically based interventions are provided, data is collected, and student progress is closely monitored. The Team may also organize resources, clarify issues and problems, establish accountability and make direct referrals to other support services. Composition of the Student Study Team should include parents and, if appropriate, students. All referrals for special education and related services must be documented, referral logs, results from student study teams, etc. and placed in student files. When an oral referral is made for special education district staff must offer assistance to individuals who need assistance to put their request in writing.

5 CCR 3021(a)
34 CFR §§300.101(c)-300.111-300.125-300.131-300.451
20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3))
20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B)


Click here to download and print "Procedures Guide-Child Find" September 2020