Interprofessional Comment on "Qualified Professional" to the Department of Education

July 25, 1997

Thomas Irvin
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Department of Education, Room 4607
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Mr. Irvin:

In response to the U.S. Department of Education’s notice of request for advice and recommendations on regulatory issues under the IDEA Amendments of 1997 published in the June 27, 1997 Federal Register, the undersigned national organizations request that the Department provide a definition of qualified professionals in the regulations. In developing this definition, we believe an explication of qualified mental health professionals is warranted to promote quality, cost-effective related services to children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997. Suggested language that accommodates this recommendation is as follows:

Qualified providers of mental health services shall include, but not be limited to, state-licensed and/or certified psychologists, school psychologists, social workers, school social workers, psychiatrists, and child and adolescent psychiatrists.

The above mentioned disciplines constitute professionally trained individuals who have completed a graduate level degree program, possess specialized expertise, and subscribe to a professional code of ethics and conduct that assures the provision of quality services for children with disabilities.

Thank you for your consideration.


National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children (AAPSC)