Posted on Apr 27, 2017
PO3 Account Management Specialist
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My husband and I are in the process of trying to adopt a teenage boy. He is academically delayed, has a special IEP (Individual Education Plan) and currently a ward of the state of Georgia. We are Alabama residents, and we want to place him in a private high school in Georgia. I am having trouble locating resources for scholarships across state lines.

We think there will be federal adoption assistance to help us pay for his care, but we are trying to identify any and all resources available. We've found several scholarship options for Georgia (if WE were Georgia residents...) and scholarship options for Alabama (since we are Alabama residents), but it doesn't apply since the school we want to put him in is Georgia.

So yes, this is completely off topic, but I am throwing a spaghetti noodle at the wall. If any of you have experience in this department, please let me know.
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Edited >1 y ago
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Responses: 6
LtCol Robert Quinter
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Get an advocate for your son. I've been on the local school board for 16 years and you will be in the driver's seat. If the advocate can convince the school administrators where your son would normally attend that he will receive a better education at the Georgia school, the losing district will pay the tuition and expenses. If the advocate can't get it taken care of, hire an attorney and take the school to court. 90% of the tie they will agree pre-trial, and the child will win another 8% of the time. The attorney will get his fee from the school district . I'm in Pennsylvania, but we have one child in Massachusetts because that is where the best place for the child was located. May be slightly different in Alabama, but the advocate and attorney can make it happen.
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PO3 Donald Murphy
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Edited >1 y ago
Your best and number one bet would be the school board for the county where you live and the school board for the county where the boy will be going to school. I will tell you now that your medical stuff will have to be updated prior to your meeting. So his IEP will need a review (the old "make sure he really needs it" schtick). This works out in your favor as (not to be cruel) government tends to do as little as possible for free. So Bob the disability doctor more than likely gave him a 2 minute exam and declared him X. A proper battery takes several hours a day for several days. This was covered by TriCare when I needed to get it done. I am assuming he is on Medicaid so I would check it out. TriCare South can answer those questions as well.

I would also talk with his present teacher just as a "hi, getting to know you" and also to get another snapshot of what he gets out of his IEP and what he needs. One of our children had reverse ADHD where they were "too bright" and we worked hand in hand with the teacher (my wife was a stay-at-home-mom at the time) to build a class structure tailored for the child so that the child was constantly learning. Whereas our other ADHD child had normal attention issues associated with it. In Florida as a special needs parent you can (and should) show up at any time and sit in on a class. I would show up unannounced if available at your son's school and just look. Alternatively, attend the prospective school unannounced as well. You may be biting off more than you can chew.

Also keep in mind feelings and attitudes. As well as aspirations. Does junior want to grow up to be an astronaut? Or is he happy just finishing a book? Once he is "yours" get him plugged in to TriCare Behavioral Treatment so that you can find out (a) what his goals are and (b) how best to meet them. While you may want him to be the next Shuttle pilot, he may want nothing but to be a server at his fave diner. A lot of special needs parents tend to want/demand for their child to be in with "normal kids" and sometimes this backfires. Especially if the child knows that he is disabled and is "okay" with it. Sometimes the parents have a harder time with accepting fate than the children. So its key to find out what cogs are turning in his head.

Also make an appointment with base legal to go over your funding options. Theres a lot of special needs loop holes for getting aid to places where its needed. You may need legal help getting Alabama help for Georgia students, etc. Base legal will have some answers for you. Good luck and keep us posted.
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SSG Environmental Specialist
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I would think the school your are looking at would have a list of places to apply. Plus there should be someone from the state who could assist, maybe from the department of education. God Bless.
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