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Who & what is SEDNET in Broward County?
The Broward County SENET project is a cooperative effort on the part the School Board of Broward County, the Department of Children & Families, parents/caregivers, youth, children’s agencies, community behavioral health centers, Department of Juvenile Justice, the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, ChildNet, One Community Partnership, and other organizations that serve children and adolescents who have a severe emotional disturbance.

Broward County’s SEDNET Advisory Board is an interagency collaboration on an administrative organizational level to enhance service provision. The Advisory Board’s activities are designed to promote a comprehensive range of educational programs, behavioral health and substance abuse and residential services to meet the multiple needs of youth who have a severe emotional disturbance or are at-risk of a severe emotional disturbance and live in Broward County.

A Coordinator, Case Manager and Administrative Assistant staff the SEDNET project. The Coordinator provides staff support to the SEDNET Advisory Board and all their activities and the Case Manager assists families and students in obtaining appropriate educational and behavioral health services within the Broward County Schools.

What does it mean to have a Severe Emotional Disturbance?
For the purposes of obtaining school based services for a student who has severe emotional disturbance (SED) the student must meet the criteria and characteristics that are found in Section 6A-6.03016 of the Florida Administrative Code and The School Board of Broward County’s Special Programs and Procedures for Exceptional Students.

Generally, a student must have a condition that results in persistent maladaptive behaviors that interfere educational achievement. Some examples of these handicapping characteristics are: an inability to progress academically; inability to have satisfactory interpersonal relationships; a pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression, and the need for the student to receive mental heath services in a five day a week program. (Please see the laws and regulations cited above for the specific criteria.)

A broader general definition of serious emotional disturbance is contained in the Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services Act, F.S. 394.492(6) and is used when children and adolescents need community based or residential treatment services supported by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Generally, a child/adolescent must have a mental, emotional or behavior disorder that meets a diagnostic category in the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and exhibits behavior that substantially interferes with the child/adolescent’s ability to successfully function in school, the family or community.

Can SEDNET assist a student who has a severe emotional disturbance receive school-based services?
There are two ways in which a student who has a severe emotional disturbance can be referred for recommended school-based services. In the first instance, the SEDNET Case Manager will receive and process referrals or recommendations from treatment teams at psychiatric hospitals and/or residential treatment programs for children believed to be in need of SED school placement and services. In the second instance, referrals to the SEDNET Case Manager are made for students transferring from out-of-state school districts that have determined a student eligible for severely emotionally disturbed services and believe the child to still be in need of such programming. Either parents or school personnel at the current out-of-state facility or the Broward County School receiving the transferring student can make these referrals.

Upon receipt of either of these types of referrals, the SEDNET Case Manager can expedite and facilitate a staffing at a SED Center to determine eligibility for services.

What information is required to be in the referral?

  1. A psychiatric evaluation/report less than six months old, that includes a recommendation for SED services,

  2. A psychological evaluation less than one year old,

  3. The IEP that is currently being implemented, and
    4. Any other information should be as current as possible and be reflective of the student’s present level of functioning, but older documentation is also useful in terms of tracking progress and trends, i.e.: psychosocial, educational records, medical records.

What about students who have a severe emotional disturbance and are moving to Broward County from another school district within the State of Florida?
There is reciprocity between the Broward County School District and all Florida school districts with regards to eligibility. Therefore, a student who has a current IEP from another Florida school district stating the student is eligible for severe emotional disturbance educational the student can be enrolled directly into one of the school district’s SED Centers.

What about students who are not referred by hospitals or residential facilities or who are not coming from out of state, how do they receive SED services?
Parents or guardians of these students contact the student’s home school's Guidance Counselor or ESE Specialist. They can provide all the information about the process for determining SED eligibility and if indicated, accessing SED services.

Where is a student placed while his case is waiting for a staffing at an SED Center?
The student’s home school will provide educational services during this time.