Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Privacy and Data Sharing

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

The U.S. Department of Education established The Privacy Technical Assistance Center to provide information, guidance, training and direct technical assistance on privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems and other uses of student data.

  • WWW: Early Childhood Data Privacy - States, communities, and local providers use and share data to support efficient, effective services for children and families participating in early childhood programs. However, data use must be balanced with the need to support privacy. This set of resources focuses specifically on topics that early childhood programs may be asking about privacy. (posted June 16, 2015)

The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy Center)

The DaSy Center is a national technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). DaSy works with states to support IDEA early intervention and early childhood special education state programs in the development or enhancement of coordinated early childhood longitudinal data systems.

See their special collection of resources on WWW: Privacy and Confidentiality.

OSEP Guidance on Privacy and Data Sharing

  • Understanding the Confidentiality Requirements Applicable to IDEA Early Childhood Programs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (October 2016) - This FAQ is meant to assist early childhood programs under the IDEA address privacy and confidentiality questions. It can be used in conjunction with the 2014 side-by-side guide of the IDEA and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Confidentiality Provisions.
  • Letter to Nisha Kashyap (September 23, 2016) - Addresses the question of whether the right to examine education records afforded by the IDEA is limited only to parents of children who already have been deemed eligible for special education services, or if the right also extends to children with suspected disabilities.
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Chief State School Officers (05/27/14) - Provides guidance on the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA) (Public Law 112-278), which amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These changes affect the confidentiality provisions that apply to Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • OSEP Letter to Janice Breton (03/21/14) - Provides guidance in response to a question about the use of email to provide parents with their child's individualized education programs (IEPs) and related documentation, such as progress reports, provided the parents and the school district agree to use the electronic mail option, and the States take the necessary steps to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards to protect the integrity of the process.
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Charlcie Flinn (5/08/13) - Provides clarification about the applicability of FERPA and HIPAA as those legal authorities relate to the early intervention records of a toddler who received early intervention services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Part C).
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Carmela N. Edmunds (12/07/12) - Provides clarification on whether the use of the term early intervention records under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations is the same as education records for purposes of IDEA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Lynne Marie Price (10/13/10) - Provides guidance regarding whether a State must provide parents with a copy of a test protocol that contains personally identifiable information about their child as part of their child's Part C IDEA records.
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Rick Ingraham (11/13/09) - Provides guidance on when parental consent must be obtained for changes in the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
  • WWW: OSEP Letter to B. Alan McGraw (10/07/05) - Provides clarification in response to a question about restricting physical access to education records.
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Mary Elder (02/11/04) - Provides clarification about whether parental consent is required to disclose referral information from a lead agency under Part C of IDEA to the State education agency or local education agency about children who will shortly turn three and transition from receiving early intervention services under Part C to potentially receiving special education and related services under Part B.
  • PDF: OSEP Letter to Parent (redacted) (02/12/04) - Provides clarification about the State lead agency's child find responsibilities under Part C of IDEA and whether a hospital can disclose information regarding an infant or toddler to a State's lead agency.

Federal Privacy Regulations - FERPA and HIPAA

  • WWW: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations address such issues as confidentiality, maintaining and sharing educational records and disclosure of information. These regulations apply to both Part B and Part C, because the confidentiality requirements in the Part B of IDEA (34 CFR 300.560-300.576) incorporate by reference the regulations in 34 CFR Part 99. Additionally, the confidentiality sections of Part B are also to be used by public agencies to meet the confidentiality requirements under Part C of IDEA (34CFR 303.460). Therefore, FERPA is also incorporated by Part C.
  • PDF: IDEA and FERPA Confidentiality Provisions (June 2014) - This crosswalk tool from U.S. Department of Education provides a side-by-side comparison of the primary legal provisions and definitions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Parts B and C and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that relate to the confidentiality of personally identifiable information of children served under the IDEA.
  • Confidentiality Issues: Addressing Questions about Sharing Data among Organizations (2014) - This brief provides answers to commonly asked questions about the sharing of sensitive child-level data and summarizes seven key points to know about FERPA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on sharing education and health data - with an emphasis on data obtained and used by early childhood education programs. It is based on a webinar sponsored by the Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance (ELC TA) program on April 21, 2014.
  • PDF: Uninterrupted Scholars Act Factsheet (2013) from the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education explains how recent changes to FERPA make it easier for child welfare agencies to obtain the education records of children with whom they work.
  • WWW: The Intersection of FERPA and the IDEA Confidentiality Provisions (March 15, 2012). This presentation by Deborah Morrow of OSEP and Ellen Campbell of the Family Policy Compliance Office provides an overview of definitions, confidentiality provisions, and the regulations under FERPA and Part B of the IDEA. It highlights similarities and differences in the requirements between the two statues and discusses important privacy requirements that affect the education records of students receiving services under Part B of IDEA.
  • PDF: The Impact of Privacy Regulations: How EDHI, Part C and Health Providers Can Ensure that Children and Families Get Needed Services (2008) is a White Paper by WWW: National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM), explaining privacy regulations, specifically HIPAA, FERPA, and the IDEA Part C regulations that incorporate confidentiality provisions under FERPA. The paper offers recommendations for sharing information and ensuring access to services.
  • 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