The term “transitional services” means a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed with an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities are based on a student’s instructional, community experiences, the development of employment and other post school objectives, and acquisition of daily and living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Why? Filing a Chapter 688 referral creates a documented needed for services and supports for adults with significant disabilities. The primary goal of filing a Chapter 688 referral is to plan for needed adult services for students.
One Referral Per Student In Massachusetts, students with severe disabilities access adult services agencies through the Chapter 688 referral process. Chapter 688 provides a two year coordinated planning process for students whose entitlements to special education services will end when they graduate from school or turn 22 years of age. However, in the Spring of 2011 DMH told us this window is 6 months. Our recommendation is to refer students at the end of their Junior year or at the beginning of their Senior year. This way the agency may be invited and participate in the student’s Senior IEP meeting.
Eligibility Students who receive services in accordance with an IEP and receive SSI/SSDI and/or are on the registry at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) are automatically eligible for Chapter 688. Other students who may be eligible are those students with severe disabilities who are in need of continued services and are unable to work 20 or more hours per week in competitive, non-sheltered, non-supported employment at the time they are ready to leave school. Also, students who receive services from the Department of Youth Services (DYS) or the Department of Social Services (DSS) and are on an IEP or a 504 Plan may be eligible.
When to Refer Only school systems can refer students that they believe may be eligible for adult services through Chapter 688. A referral must be made at least 2 years before the student is expected to graduate from school or turns 22 years of age. Referrals can be made to the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), or the Bureau of Transitional Planning.
Pre-Employment Transition Services
Pre-Employment Transition Services, or Pre-ETS, provide students with the tools they need as they prepare to leave high school and transition to employment. Using curriculum that involves lessons, group activities, workshops, community-based learning, and 1:1 instruction, participants develop invaluable skills to become successful members of the working community. The five key components of the Pre-ETS program are: (1) Job Exploration Counseling, (2) Work Readiness Training, (3) Work-Based Learning, (4) Self-Advocacy and Mentoring, and (5) Counseling on Post-Secondary Education.