Special Education in Institutional Settings

Program Settings

The following are brief descriptions of the services that SEIS provides within each host agency facility.

Department of Youth Services (DYS)

  • DYS provides youth in residential care with a comprehensive general education program, and SEIS provides special education services to eligible youth.

  • DYS's general education services are extensively coordinated with the SEIS program to facilitate an integrated and inclusive approach that permits educational access to all students, with a focus on college and career readiness and successful transitions to the community.

  • The following are types of DYS programs in which SEIS provides services:

    • Pre-trial Detention Programs
    • Assessment Programs
    • Long Term Secure Treatment Programs
    • Short Term Secure Treatment Programs

Department of Mental Health (DMH)

  • SEIS provides special education services for eligible students in 18 designated DMH residential facilities, 8 of which serve children and adolescents and 10 of which serve adults.

  • In the child/adolescent DMH programs, SEIS provides special education services and a full day academic program.

  • SEIS works with the local school district to enable the student to receive academic credit from the school district for course work completed while in the DMH site.

  • In adult facilities, students receive clinical services from DMH staff during the day, while SEIS provides special education services and academic programming integrated with these services as permitted by each DMH site and coordinated with students' individual clinical schedule needs.

  • The following are DMH program types in which SEIS provides services:

    • Intensive Residential Treatment (IRTP)
    • Clinically Intensive Residential Treatment (CIRT)
    • Inpatient Care Units
    • Adult Units

Department of Public Health (DPH)

  • SEIS provides special education services to students ages 6 through 21 at the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children (PRHC), a center for rehabilitation services for children located in Canton and operated by the Department of Public Health (DPH).

  • Students are eligible for admission to PRHC if they have special health care needs and require a medically based program.

  • Admission to PRHC is determined by the Admissions Committee and based upon whether the child or young adult meets the hospital criteria for medical/rehabilitative management.

  • DPH provides medical, clinical, therapeutic and recreational services at PRHC, while SEIS provides content-based instruction and special education services.

County Houses of Correction (CHC)

  • SEIS provides special education services to eligible students with disabilities up to age 22 who are incarcerated in thirteen of the Commonwealth's County Houses of Correction.

  • CHCs are operated under the jurisdiction of a sheriff, and house individuals who are awaiting trial, as well as those who have sentences up to two and one-half years.

  • Participation in special education services by an eligible inmate is subject to restrictions set by the operating facility's Classification Board.

  • SEIS educators provide special education services tailored to meet the student's needs on the IEP and delivered through one-to-one and group instruction.

  • CHCs provide their own in-house educational services that may include high school equivalency test (HiSET) preparation, Title I, Adult Basic Education, vocational training and other rehabilitation services.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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