Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes


The PDF: IDEA Amendments of 2004 (IDEA '04; P.L. 108-446) strengthened the availability of mediation as an option for resolving individual child complaints by requiring that all states establish and bear the costs of a mediation process for both Part B and Part C programs.

Mediation must be available prior to or after a hearing is requested, and must not delay the hearing process. It is to be a voluntary process, conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator.

Under Part C of IDEA, the state lead agency may establish its own mediation system for its Infant and Toddler Program or use the mediation system established by the state education agency for Part B of IDEA.

IDEA Regulations on Mediation:

Congress provided the rationale for requiring mediation in the report on IDEA 1997 amendments, P.L. 105-17:

The Committee is aware that, in States where mediation is being used, litigation has been reduced, and parents and schools have resolved their complaints amicably, making decisions with the child's best interest in mind. It is the Committee's strong preference that mediation become the norm for resolving disputes under IDEA.

H.R. Rep. No. 105-95, 105th Cong., 1st Sess. (1997), p. 106.

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2019 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute