Parent's Rights and Options


There may be a time when one party (parent) disagree with the county Birth to 3 Program (another party) about your child's early intervention services. This is called a dispute. As a parent, you have the right to disagree with the decisions made regarding evaluation for eligibility, assessment results, services, or payment of services for your child.

There are several options to use to resolve the disagreement.   These options can be used alone, or together.

Visit the Conflict Resolution Options section below or the Department of Health Service Birth to 3 Program conflict resolution options web site to learn more.  Information about mediation can be requested from your service coordinator or the Birth to 3 Mediation System.  Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party, a mediator, helps people attempt to resolve disputes in a private setting.



If there is a dispute, it is recommended to talk informally with the staff member with whom you disagree. If that is not successful, speaking to the coordinator of your child's early intervention program is recommended as the next step.

Parent's Rights During Mediation

Parents have many rights as the parent of a child receiving early intervention services through the Birth to 3 Program.  These rights are called Procedural Safeguards.

Mediation shall not delay due process hearings or civil action related to the dispute. 

A parent may request a break during a mediation session to consult advisors, whether present or not, or to consult privately with the mediator.  Private meetings with the mediator are called a caucus.

A parent may withdraw from mediation at any time.  No adverse inference may be drawn from the fact that a party did not consent to mediation or withdrew from mediation or that the mediation did not result in an agreement.

All discussions that occur during the mediation process are confidential and may not be used as evidence in any future due process hearing or civil proceeding in Federal or State court.

Due Process Hearing

A parent may request a due process hearing, a formal process for settling disputes. This procedure is a hearing before an impartial decision-maker or administrative law judge, to resolve a dispute between you and the county agency or service provider.

To request a due process hearing, send the Request for Impartial Hearing form to the Birth to 3 Program Coordinator at the DHS. A letter requesting a hearing to resolve your dispute is also an option. The DHS will forward your request to the Division of Hearings and Appeals (DHA). The DHA will appoint an impartial decision maker for your case. The Due Process Hearing will be completed and a decision made within 30 days of your request.

At the hearing, both parties (you and the county) in the dispute and any witnesses will present evidence. Parents are entitled to have an attorney and advisors present. The hearing is provided at no cost to the family, except for any professionals that you hire to represent you, like your attorney.

If you are dissatisfied with the decision from the Due Process Hearing, you may bring a civil action in State or Federal Court.

IDEA Complaint

If a parent feels that the local or state Birth to 3 Program has violated a federal or state law, a written complaint may be filed with the DHS.  An IDEA complaint is made when a parent believes the local or state program is not meeting an early intervention program requirement.  For more information see

In this case, send your written concerns to the Birth to 3 Program at the address below.  Please include a statement describing the complaint and the facts upon which the complaint is based.  A Birth to 3 Program state staff member will conduct an investigation after receiving your complaint.  You will be notified within 60 days about what action, if any, will be taken. 

  • Birth to 3 Program
  • Department of Health Services
  • 1 W. Wilson Rm 418
  • PO Box 7851
  • Madison, WI 53707-7851

For more information on due process hearings, visit the DHS Birth to 3 Program website or the Due Process Hearing section

DHS brochure on Options for Resolving Conflicts