All students are entitled to a free, appropriate, public education under Maine and U.S. law. The Maine Department of Education has a number of structures in place to ensure that students with special needs can succeed in their learning.
- Office of Special Services. The Office of Special Services at the Maine Department of Education works to ensure that eligible students with disabilities receive the educational services they're entitled to under state and federal law.
- Child Development Services. The Child Development Services (CDS) system provides early intervention and special education services to children with disabilities from birth to age 5. The CDS system consists of nine regional sites that provide services directly or arrange for the provision of services to children in their geographic areas.
- Special Education Laws, Rules and Regulations. Maine schools provide special education services under state and federal laws and regulations governing the services available to children with disabilities.
- Due Process. The Due Process Office (DPO) assists parents and school districts with the resolution of special education disputes regarding the evaluation, identification, placement, programming, and the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) for children with disabilities. DPO offers mediations, complaint investigations, and hearings as forums for resolution, and provides information and resources to parents and districts attempting to resolve issues locally.