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Dispute Resolution

There may be times when a parent, individual or agency has a concern to address, such as a disagreement with a Service Coordinator or an Early Intervention Service (EIS) provider. In other instances, there may be a need to investigate if a family's or child's rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA/Part C) have been violated. Please follow the guidance below to help ensure concerns are addressed appropriately. Please follow the steps below to help resolve concerns.

Steps to Dispute Resolution

Options for State Dispute Resolution
Addressing IDEA Part C Concerns or Issues

For concerns or disagreements, informal solutions are encouraged.  This includes talking with the Service Coordinator, their supervisor or the company owner; or the early intervention service provider (e.g. therapist), their supervisor or company owner about a concern or disagreement (e.g. a provider who is frequently late for appointments).  If the concern is not resolved, a meeting of the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team may be requested, or the issue can be discussed with a supervisor or state-level representative.  Please follow the progression below to help resolve concerns.

  1. The Service Coordinator’s supervisor: 
    1. Service Coordination/Early Intervention Provider Contact List 
    2. South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) 
  2. Early Intervention Service Providers:  The directory of early intervention service providers can be found in the IDEA/Part C Central Directory, housed on the Family Connection Family Portal web page. 
  3. An agency-level program manager:  South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) or SCSDB 
  4. A BabyNet State office regional coordinator

For additional information about talking with professionals, Family Connection of SCoffers resources, education, and training in communication and parent advocacy.

When a parent is discussing a concern or disagreement, it helps to think about the following before talking with the Service Coordinator or EIS Provider.

  • What are your concerns?
  • What are your questions?
  • What would you like the person to do about this situation or how can you work together to solve the problem?

If the complaint is about something that is a potential violation of family rights and safeguards or the regulations for IDEA/Part C, or other efforts did not address the issue or concern, a formal written complaint may be filed.  The complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged violation of rights or regulations. 

There are three types of state-level dispute resolution:

  • A written formal state complaint is filed when an investigation is requested to determine if IDEA has been followed. If IDEA has not been followed, the state must provide a resolution to the problem. (Families, Agencies/Providers, other Parties) 
  • Mediation is a voluntary process under Part C of IDEA that brings the parent and others together to resolve disagreements. An impartial, qualified and trained mediator helps participants communicate with each other so that everyone has an opportunity to express concerns and offer solutions. If a dispute is resolved through the mediation process, a written and legally binding agreement is created and signed. (Families only)
  • A due process hearing can be requested when the parent wants an officer of the court to make a legally binding decision about whether IDEA has been followed. (Families only)

More information about each type of dispute resolution can be found in the IDEA/Part C Procedures for Complaint Investigation and Dispute Resolution.

Anyone choosing to file a complaint and/or request other dispute resolution procedures must complete and sign the Request for Dispute Resolution Form (English) (Spanish).

If at any point the person filing chooses to stop the complaint process, the Withdrawal of Dispute Resolution Form (English) (Spanish) must be completed and signed.

Completed forms can be submitted as follows:

E-Mail -

Fax - (803) 255-8206


SCDHHS/Appeals and Hearings

1801 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201

Attn:  IDEA/Part C Disputes

Resources for Families

The following family resources are available from Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE).  All Guides are available in multiple languages on the CADRE website.