Child Find & Referral

Operation Search seeks out
children who might need
special education.
The Department of Education (DOE) must make an effort to identify, locate and evaluate children with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. This child find campaign, called Operation Search, must include students who are in private school and students who are highly mobile, homeless or wards of the state. Children under three years of age are referred to the Department of Health, Early Intervention Section for evaluation.

Parents and teachers can refer a
child for 
If you suspect that your child may need special education services because of learning difficulties, physical disabilities or behavior problems, you can request an evaluation by the DOE. A request for evaluation may be made to your child’s home school either: 1) verbally, in person or on the phone, 2) in a written letter, mailed, faxed or emailed, or 3) on the State of Hawaii Request for Evaluation Form.

Within 15 days, the school must
let you know in writing if your child
will be referred for an evaluation.
After all the information is reviewed, a determination is made to evaluate or not evaluate and communicated to the parent through a Prior Written Notice (PWN),  If there is a suspicion of a disability that affects learning, the PWN will describe what tests that will be used and the other ways it will collect information about your child to determine eligibility for special education.

Your consent is need for an evaluation.
You will be asked to give your informed written consent. Your permission does not mean that you have also given your consent for the school to start providing special education and related services to your child.

If the school decides NOT to
evaluate your child, other options are available.
Other options you and the school may consider include:

  • addressing your child’s needs through regular education classroom interventions, or through additional supports, such as counseling or referral to a community program,
  • using existing information (if sufficient) to determine your child’s eligibility for special education, and
  • referring your child for a Chapter 61 (Section 504) evaluation.

If you disagree with the decision not to evaluate or do further assessments, you may request a due process hearing. (See DUE PROCESS).


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