Special Education in Institutional Settings


Since 1974, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (the Department) has provided special education services to eligible children and youth residing in facilities operated by the Departments of Youth Services (DYS), Mental Health (DMH), Public Health (DPH) and the County Houses of Correction (CHC) (hereafter, "host agencies"). The Department unit providing these services is the Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS) program. In FY16, SEIS served approximately 520 students monthly in over 80 sites statewide.

SEIS and public school districts are responsible to ensure that each eligible student residing in these facilities receives special education services according to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed in accordance with special education law. SEIS is the provider of the special education services as resources permit and consistent with applicable special education regulations. When SEIS does not provide a particular service required by a student's IEP, the school district in which the student resides must provide it, consistent with the policies and procedures of the host agency. The school district responsible for the student develops the IEP, conducts special education evaluations and annual reviews, and, when necessary, coordinates with SEIS on the implementation of the student's IEP in the host agency setting. SEIS personnel participate in all Team meetings convened by districts for students residing in SEIS sites.

The following state special education laws specifically address the role and responsibility of SEIS:

Last Updated: May 16, 2017

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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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