Women Children & Family

BG 18E-1001436


Parents are seeking legal assistance in filing for due process or representation through a plenary hearing if necessary.

EG, age 16, is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation, Encephalopathy-unspecified and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), in addition to sensory dysfunction and visual tracking challenges. Despite the aforementioned diagnoses and his disruptive behavior in public school and two hospitalizations, he had never been referred to a Child Study Team. Following his hospitalization, his parents enrolled him in a residential placement out of state, where he stayed from May 2017 until September 2017. In early September 2017, EG’s parents enrolled him back in District and requested that he be referred to the Child Study Team. In October 2017, EG’s parents submitted a 10-day notice to the District informing the District that they would be enrolling EG in a therapeutic residential school, which he had previously attended, with expertise in 14-18 year-old boys on the autism spectrum, and parents again requested that EG be referred to the Child Study Team for special education and related services. The initial response from the District was voicemails received by parents regarding withdrawal from the district form to be completed by parents and a phone call from the school Principal inquiring about the length of EG’s stay at the therapeutic residential school. In February 2018, parent retained counsel who requested that an IEP meeting be scheduled as soon as possible. In April 2018, an Initial Identification/Evaluation Planning Meeting was held and parents consented to in-District evaluations. Parents also submitted to the District EG’s neurodevelopmental evaluation and EG’s school records from the residential placement. The psychoeducational report confirmed EG’s social and emotional challenges, finding clinically significant and at risk ratings for several categories, such as behaviors that are impulsive, disruptive and uncontrolled. In June 2018, District notified the parents that EG would be considered a 9th grader on July 1st at a Regional High School and the matter needed to be transferred to that District. A determination meeting with the Regional High School was held in July 2019. Shockingly, the District did not find EG eligible for special education and related services. The District asserted that EG could be served in district in general education. EG continues to be enrolled in a therapeutic placement, but his parents have depleted all of their resources. Parents are seeking legal assistance in filing for due process or representation through a plenary hearing if necessary.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Consultation, and possible representation through name change application

LJ is a domestic violence victim of her first husband, with whom she has two children. She was awarded sole custody of those children as a result of the domestic violence, and has since remarried and expanded her family. She has learned that her ex-husband is currently incarcerated for crimes involving sex with a minor and is concerned for the safety and welfare of her children once he is released. Her current husband is the only real father her first two children have known, and she is seeking to change their last name for their well-being.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org




Representation at mediation to secure an appropriate IEP and appropriate placement.

IA, age 5, is diagnosed with Autism and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. IA’s parent, MS, reports IA was originally placed in a generic preschool disabilities class and after the last IEP, placed in a learning and language disabilities class. MS believe IA should be in an ABA-based class. In October 2019, he was referred to an out-of-district placement due to his behavior. MS states that he was referred out-of-district only because the District does not have room in its own ABA classes. MS disagreed with that decision and filed a request for mediation on November 5th to challenge the out-of-district placement and invoke “stay put,” but the District disregarded IA’s right to stay put and excluded him from school beginning on November 12. Since the parent had no other choice, she agreed to home instruction, which commenced three weeks later. MS is seeking representation at mediation to secure an appropriate IEP and placement.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org




Representation at mediation with the goal of securing  an out-of-district placement in a therapeutic day school addressing psychiatric, behavioral, developmental, and academic needs of the child.

JD, age 7, is diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, global developmental delays, behavior challenges and ADHD. He is receiving special education under categorization of “moderate intellectual disability” in a multiply disabled classroom. The district refuses to conduct an FBA and refuses to consider revising the IEP despite persistent, significant behavioral issues. The district is refusing to assess communication-related needs such as the need for assistive/augmentative technology. Information from JD’s recent partial hospitalization supports the claim for an intensive, psychiatrically-informed placement. JD’s mother filed for due process in October seeking appropriate therapeutic out-of-district placement and home instruction in the meantime. Mediation was scheduled for December 3rd, parent advised not to sign anything she did not agree with.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org




Representation at due process hearing to address bullying issue, obtain appropriate IEP, and possible comp. ed.

IM is an 11-year-old 6th-grader who is originally from Albania and is eligible for special education services under the category of Specific Learning Disability. During the 2016-17 school year, IM’s peers called her a lesbian, purposely mispronounced her last name, left notes on her desk saying they hated her, and posted mean messages on social media. IM’s mother, KP, reported the bullying and the district found it to violate its HIB policy. KP asked the school not to place IM in classes with two of the girls who had bullied her, but at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, IM was placed in a class with one of them. KP complained but was told that it was too expensive to move either girl. IM has experienced anxiety and a loss of self-esteem and does not want to go to school as the other girl continues to provoke her. KP filed for due process; mediation and a settlement conference have been unsuccessful. KP is seeking representation at an IEP meeting scheduled for November 1, 2018 to ensure appropriate IEP development for the 2018-2019 school year, and also representation at a due process hearing (not yet scheduled) to request an out-of-district placement for IM for 2018-19 (as the district only has one middle school) or at least to request that IM and the other girl are in separate classes; and compensatory education if warranted.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Representation in divorce case

JJ is a twenty-two year old who was committed to the Juvenile Justice Commission back in 2013. It should be noted that JJ is blind.  During his commitment at the Training School for Boys he got married.  He was just paroled and moved to another state through the interstate compact.  He would like to file for divorce.  He was married in Middlesex County at the Training School.  His current wife resides in Passaic County, where he would like to file.  He does not see any reason why the divorce would be contested, as they have no children or property together.  He is willing to come up to NJ for the proceedings.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org




Assistance in obtaining new Section 8 voucher; possible defense against eviction proceeding (not yet filed)

SR, a single mother of four young children, has lived in an apartment for 2 years that she obtained through a Section 8 voucher, and has always paid her portion of the rent on time. In May, SR got into a fight with another tenant in the building, and the other tenant filed criminal charges. One of SR’s conditions of release was that she would not be able to return to the apartment building pending the outcome of her case. In July, SR was notified that Section 8 had ceased paying the remainder of her rent because she has been out of her apartment for more than 30 days. She was told that she could appeal the determination by requesting a hearing, but has not received any written notification with more information. In August, SR was told by her management company that, as a result of Section 8 having stopped paying the rent, SR will soon be evicted (though an eviction proceeding has not yet been initiated). SR’s goal is to find a new apartment with a new Section 8 voucher, and to avoid having an eviction on her record.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Assistance in relocating out of state with court’s consent; reinstating Section 8 voucher or securing new one; possible name change for client’s son

TC, a single mother of three young children, is a victim of domestic violence, both from her ex-husband as well as many of his family members. She fears for her safety and is seeking to move out of the state. TC needs help obtaining the court’s consent to relocate. TC managed to get a Section 8 voucher in Pennsylvania, but it expired in April and she was unable to get an extension. She is seeking assistance in getting her Pennsylvania voucher reinstated or else obtaining a voucher in another state. In addition, because TC’s son has her ex-husband’s last name, she is concerned that her ex-husband might be able to find him if she does move out of state. TC is also seeking a name change for her son if possible.