Children with Special Needs, need Parents with Special Skills!
March 2020

AJE COVID-19 Update & Resources
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We at AJE hope you are well and have what you need to to take care of yourself and your family during this challenging time.  

We are taking the recommended precautions for the safety of our staff, families, and partners, and to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), by changing how we work and serve DC families. 

As of Monday, March 16, 2020, until further notice:
  • All AJE staff is working remotely.
  • AJE intake sites at Mary's Center and the DC Office of Administrative Hearings are closed.
  • All in-person scheduled trainings are canceled. 
During this time, our staff remain available to assist and support families and professionals by phone and email.   For assistance, please call 202-678-8060, press 1 to reach our intake line and leave a detailed message.   We are returning calls as soon as possible.  You may also email us at  

We are working on providing new trainings and workshops online and will provide a schedule of our virtual trainings as they are developed.  In the meantime, please view our recorded webinars  here  to continue to build your knowledge base.

For questions about distance learning during school closures, accessing meals and other assistance, please see available resources below.

We will continue to monitor and assess evolving events and will update you on new developments, resources, and changes to our operations.  To obtain updates, follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram ) and look out for our e-News & Updates: 

We hope the information we provide in this email will help you make it through this challenging time.  
Where to find emergency food and free meals for youth

We know it is important for DC children to maintain access to meals they would have received at school and share this  resource from the DC Food Project.   

This website will be updated as new information is available.  The website also includes information about grocery store hours, meals for seniors and non-school locations serving kids.  While it is DC-focused, it does have resources for families in Virginia and Maryland as well.  

DCPS will open several schools to serve FREE meals on weekdays from 10 am - 2 pm.   ALL DC youth (including those not registered at DCPS) who are not quarantined are welcome. This Emergency meal service will be using a "grab and go" model. Participants may not consume meals inside; this is a take-home service only.  The list of DCPS schools is available here.  

Many charter schools are also providing meals, you can find your school here.  

This information is also on our blog.
Friday - DDS Hosts a Community Conversation re: COVID-19

DDS invites self-advocates, community partners and stakeholders to participate in an hour-long Webex discussion about the state of disability services during COVID-19. The conversation takes place Friday, March 27, at 10:30 am .

This event will give community members greater insight into measures the agency is implementing to safely support people with disabilities during the public health emergency. Participants have the option of logging in or calling in.  

Four Federal Resources for Families about Students with Disabilities & COVID-19

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) & the Office for Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education have released clear guidance to the states that school districts like DCPS and the individual DC public charter schools do have to comply with IDEA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation act when they return to providing instruction (either online or in person).  

The Department of Education also made it clear that failure to comply with IDEA and section 504 may entitle the child to compensatory services.  What all that looks like in real life is still a moving target, for all schools in DC and the rest of the country.
This guidance is found in four communications from the Department of Education that parents and advocates thinking about students with disabilities ought to know.    

First is  OCR's  webinar on ensuring web accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing online learning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Second is a   fact sheet also from OCR for education leaders on how to protect students' civil rights as school leaders take steps to keep students safe and secure. Third is  OSEP's Q&A and speaks directly to the FAPE obligation of school districts.  Finally,   OCR issued a second fact sheet on March 21st specifically about the rights of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Mental health help, internet access and other resources

The DC Department of Behavioral Health has set up a "Warm Line" 1-888-793-4357 for individual mental health support during this uncertain time.  Please know that this is NOT a hotline and that you may experience significant wait-times if you call.

The Children and Adolescent Mobile Psychiatric Service (CHAMPS) provides on-site immediate help to children facing a behavioral or mental health crisis whether in the home, school or community. Services are geared toward children and youth 6-21 years of age.  Phone: 202-481-1440.

Two Resource Pages

The Children's Law Center (CLC) has a  great list of resources, including mental health resources, government and agency information, and resources for meeting basic needs like housing and food.  PAVE is also compiling  resources for DC families here.  Both the PAVE and CLC lists are being updated as new information is available.  

Talking with children about COVID-19


These two resources are available to help families support children and help them process this information.  


Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (Available in English, Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, and Korean)


Supporting Kids During the COVID-19 Crisis (Available in English and Spanish)


Internet Access

To support families during school closings, Comcast is offering 2 months of free internet service and increasing their internet speed from 15 Mbps to 25 Mbps for all of their Internet Essentials program participants.
You may qualify if you:

(1) Live in an area where Comcast Internet Service is available;
(2) Are eligible for public assistance programs like the National School Lunch Program, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others;
(3) Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet within the last 90 days; and
(4) Have no outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than one year old.

The fastest way to take advantage of the two-months free offer is to sign up from smartphone, tablet or computer at  

COVID-19 Emergency Legislation

The Council passed emergency legislation on March 17th,  the full bill is available here, and a summary is below and also here.   The legislation prohibits  utilities from shutting off services, stops evictions and extends FMLA, unemployment compensation and other benefits.    

Do you wish you received our emails more often?  

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About AJE:
Advocates for Justice and Education is the federally designated  Parent Training and Information Center and the Health Information Center for DC. AJE seeks to empower families, youth, and the community to be effective advocates to ensure that children and youth, particularly those who have special needs, receive access to appropriate education and health services.
Our passion is empowering families by equipping parents and students with disabilities with the tools they need to be their own advocates.

Have questions?  We are here to educate, advocate and empower. Contact us today!
Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc.| (P) 202.678.8060  | (F) 202.678.8062 |

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