P. O. BOX 2120

March 10, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Transfer of Rights for Students with Disabilities Upon Reaching the Age of Majority

 We are pleased to provide a resource, Transfer of Rights for Students with 
Disabilities Upon Reaching the Age of Majority in Virginia, to be used as an 
interim procedure for the transfer of parental rights in special education that 
occurs when a student with a disability reaches the age of majority.  The age of 
majority in Virginia is 18 (Code of Virginia 1-13.42). The purpose of this resource
document is to provide schools, students, parents, and families with useful 
information about who may make educational decisions after a student has reached age 

School personnel inform a student and the parents, one year prior to the student's 
eighteenth birthday, that the transfer of rights will occur at age 18 and efforts 
are made to provide a full explanation to the student of the applicable procedural 
safeguards. Please note that the school's responsibility is limited to informing 
students and parents of the transfer of rights.

It is the parents' right to pursue any of the following vehicles in making decisions 
on behalf of their adult students.  However, in the absence of documentation of the 
use of these vehicles, the rights afforded to parents of special education students 
are transferred to the child upon reaching the age of majority.  Parents retain the 
right to be notified of meetings and may be invited to participate in meetings by 
either the school or the student as an "other person, with special expertise" member 
of the individualized education program (IEP) team.

The attached resource presents the three ways recognized by the Virginia Department 
of Education for a parent, family member, or other person to be appointed to make 
educational decisions on behalf of an adult student.  These are as follows:

1. The parent requests to be the court-appointed guardian and is given authority to 
make educational decisions at a guardianship hearing before the judge.

2. The parent assists the adult student to appoint or designate, in writing, a 
competent adult of his or her choice to make educational decisions through the 
power of attorney, signed and executed by the adult student and a Notary Public. 
(A sample form is enclosed.) 

3. The parent or other competent adult pursues certification that the adult special 
education student is unable or incapable of providing informed consent in making 
educational decisions and is considered to be the "educational representative."  
(A sample certification form is enclosed.)

The first two options are currently available through state law.  The third option 
is in proposed revisions to the Special Education Regulations and is considered 
"interim" until those regulations are finalized.  The third option was developed to 
give parents an additional vehicle for making decisions for their adult student.

The attached resource document provides information for students and parents about 
a number of issues related to the transfer of education and other rights to an adult
student upon reaching the age of majority in Virginia. 

We recommend that this document be copied and shared with all students aged 17 and 
older and their parents.  

Upon approval of the Virginia Special Education Regulations, the interim procedure 
in this document will be finalized.  The Department of Education will publish the 
Transfer of Rights document and make it available for dissemination statewide.

Should you have any questions about this material, you may contact the special 
education technical assistance specialist for your region (refer to the attached