Hope4Families/Special Education


Hope4Families is a nonprofit special education public interest law firm that assists parents/guardians and their special needs children. Our goal is to help families obtain vitally important services from their school districts; services every child needs to thrive in an educational setting and in everyday life. Hope4Families offers services free of charge.

For more information, please go to hope4familiesca.org.

Special Education:

State-funded autism services should be awarded based on each, individual childs needs. In LA that just isnt the case. According to a Los Angeles Times analysis, average spending per child varies significantly among the states twenty-one regional centers for developmental services. South Los Angles has the lowest spending in the state per special needs child.

Marg's Blog:

Musings on the state of special education in and around the Southern California area


Hope4Families is excited and hopeful that as a legal resource offering free of cost services to the families of special needs children we can make a difference in Southern California school systems. We are a community based 501 (c)(3) nonprofit public interest law firm and we have so much in common with the communities we serve, we share the same love and commitment to our children and families.

The experienced attorneys at Hope4Families are committed to bridging the gap between the special needs of our communities children and the resources of our school districts.

The Hope4Families Advantage encompasses the full spectrum of advocacy for special needs children under IDEA ( Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). From attendance at Early Resolution Sessions and Mediation, to dedicated and experienced litigation in Due Process Hearings and Federal Court.

The community has found our services invaluable and empowering when dealing with their school districts. The Hope4Families staff is thoroughly committed to providing the highest quality legal advocacy to undeserved communities that we so proudly represent. We have seen, firsthand, how our efforts can restore hope to the sufferers of injustice and those continually denied educational rights.

Hope4Families represents clients from school districts that stretch from Los Angeles to Riverside and from Orange County to San Bernadino. We also have successfully represented students attending charter schools, including KIPP and Green Dot.

We proudly partner with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and The Community Mental Health Center, to educate special needs families and the people that work with them.

Hope4Families also provides hands-on educational workshops designed to help parents more effectively advocate for their children. We hope to give parents the tools to become their childs greatest champion.

Special Education

Public spending on autistic children in California varies significantly by racial or ethnic group and socioeconomic status, according to data analyzed by the Los Angeles Times.

For autistic children 3 to 6 a critical period for treating the disorder the state Department of Developmental Services last year spent an average of $11,723 per child on whites, compared with $11,063 on Asians, $7,634 on Latinos and $6,593 on blacks.

Data from public schools, though limited, shows that whites are more likely to receive basic services such as occupational therapy to help with coordination and motor skills.

The divide is even starker when it comes to the most coveted service a behavioral aide from a private company to accompany a child throughout each school day, at a cost that often reaches $60,000 a year.

In the state's largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, white elementary school students on the city's affluent Westside have such aides at more than 10 times the rate of Latinos on the Eastside.

It might be tempting to blame such disparities on prejudice, but the explanation is more complicated.

Part of what you're seeing here is the more educated and sophisticated you are, the louder you scream and the more you ask for the more you get, said Soryl Markowitz, an autism specialist at the Westside Regional Center, which arranges state-funded services in West Los Angeles for people with developmental disabilities.

In both the developmental system and the schools, the process for determining what services a disabled child receives is in essence a negotiation with the parents.

Because autism has come to encompass such a broad range of children from those who never learn to speak or use a toilet to math whizzes unable to make friends there is often bitter disagreement over what a child needs and who should pay.

The financial squeeze on school and state budgets has turned up the temperature, leaving officials caught between legal mandates to help autistic children and pressure to curb spending.

In California last year, autism accounted for one tenth of special education enrollment but one third of the disputes between schools and parents on record with the state.

To read the full article please click http://soc.li/eZFYUtQ

Marg’s Blog

What’s on Marg’s Mind

Autism Awareness Month was created by Congress in the 1970's to shine a light on what was, at the time, a new struggle. After years of fighting for research, Autism is still hard to understand, the origins and the best form of treatment are still a debate , while an estimated 1 in every 88 children are somewhere on the spectrum. I am honored to say that Hope4Families is helping to fight for autistic students and their families.

The sad truth is with the resources available for autistic students even the savviest and best educated parents find it difficult to obtain benefits from school districts to meet the unique educational needs of their children. But unfortunately parents in need, often parents of color, face staggering obstacles in obtaining vital services. This does not mean there is a competition among parents and families, however. There is no such competition. School districts have a legal obligation to meet the unique educational needs of each child regardless of race, ethnicity, education or economic status.

At Hope4Families we help underserved families with autistic children to obtain the benefits their children need to access a free and appropriate public education by advocating for them in their struggle against school districts throughout Southern California and providing workshops that make parents and guardians the best advocates they can be for their autistic children.

We understand that the autism spectrum is very board and it is important to partner with parents, guardians, caregivers, doctors, mental health professionals and others (yes even school districts from time to time) concerned for an autistic child to determine what the child needs to be successful in school.

In a recent case, an autistic young boy in the 5th grade was failing miserably at school. It was not his lack of intelligence, but his behavior caused by autism that caused his lack of success. The school personnel were simply not equipped to understand and redirect his behavior. He spent so much time in the office and doing nothing in class that he fell far behind his peers in every subject. We worked with this young boy’s parents and the school district and negotiated a placement for him in a non-public school and compensatory educational services. The young boy is now President of his class at the non-public school and working on grade level.

Not every child needs a non-public school like that young boy. There are solutions available that are right for each child with autism. Hope4Families helps underserved families demand that school districts work with them to find solutions for the unique needs of their children and teaches them to advocate for the continued implementation of those solutions – one family and one child at a time.