Transitional services described in Ch688, also known as the "Turning 22 Law," include participation in a formal interagency planning process and an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) for students projected to require continuing/ongoing support in adult life.
This planning process starts at least two years before the end of special education services with a referral from the Local Education Agency (LEAthe school system) to one of seven human services agencies in the state (see Primary Transition Agencies in Appendix I: Resource Guide for information regarding these agencies). Only students with severe disabilities (typically defined as persons who will need continuing adult services from one or more adult agency) are eligible for Ch688 planning. (These students, as all students with disabilities, must also receive Ch766 transition services starting at age 16). Once eligibility is determined, a Ch688 liaison (from a human services agency) convenes an interagency ITP meeting, which should include the student, family members, school staff, other human services agencies, and, possibly, private service providers, to develop the ITP. The ITP describes residential, day/vocational, and/or support services that the person will need after leaving school. It is recommended that the 688 transition planning meeting be coordinated with students' TEAM meeting.
It is essential that services listed on the ITP are not limited to what is currently available. Rather, ITP services should reflect what the individual really wants and how best to support the person to become as independent as possible in adult life. It is also important to understand that Ch688 is not a continuation of Ch766 and that the provision of adult services is subject to annual funding from the state budget by the Massachusetts legislature. When a student turns 22, entitlement to services ends. Nothing automatically guarantees that the services will be available to the student after turning 22. Chapter 688 is not an entitlement program. On the other hand, the ITP functions as documentation of service needs and can be useful in assisting to plan, advocate for, and procure additional funding for adult services.
The Bureau of Transitional Planning (BTP), part of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), monitors the Ch688 transitional planning process. The Transitional Advisory Committee (TAC), comprised of representatives of each human services agency and the Department of Education, assists the BTP. The TAC reviews each ITP, makes recommendations, and approves the plan. It is then sent to the student and family for acceptance or appeal.
Chapter 688 is intended to provide a coordinated planning process for students with severe disabilities in need of adult services from one or more human services agencies. If a student is ineligible for Ch688 services, he/she is not necessarily ineligible for services from an adult human service agency. A request for services can be made directly to any human services agency, separate from the Ch688 process, with the proviso that each agency has its own eligibility requirements.