The Arc has several advocates on staff. They provide services to help parents, guardians, and students develop a plan of action for obtaining a free and appropriate education, and also help ensure that students make meaningful progress on their educational goals. All children and students from 5 to 21 who are eligible or suspected of being eligible for specialized education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEIA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can access The Arc of Chester County’s education advocacy services.  To learn more about our advocates, click on their names on the right.

All education advocacy services are offered at no charge to Chester County families with a verifiable total household income of $70,000 or less. All other families can access The Arc’s highly qualified education advocacy services for a reasonable fee of $75/hour.

Here’s how education advocacy works:
  • The advocate listens to the parents/guardians, gathering valuable information related to the current situation. The need for further information is also assessed.
  • The advocate reviews the current Evaluation Report (ER), Individualized Education Program (IEP), and other pertinent documents, as necessary.
  • The advocate educates/informs parents/guardians about their children’s right to a free and appropriate education, the applicable laws, the special education process, how to effectively partner with the school team, how to effectively resolve issues, and how to be their children’s best advocate.
  • The advocate may attend IEP meetings with parents/guardians, if requested/deemed necessary. The advocate may also attend a resolution meeting, mediation or a due process hearing, if requested/deemed necessary, and the family has been unsuccessful in obtaining a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for a student through other appropriate methods.
  • The advocate encourages parents/guardians to attend local workshops and conferences and to network with other parents through a variety of local disability-specific or topic-specific parent support groups. Knowledge is power.
  • The advocate encourages students to become a stronger voice for themselves by self-advocating appropriately.
  • The advocate may refer the family to other state and local service providers, e.g., behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, medical assistance, support groups, etc. as needed.
  • The advocate always works toward empowering the parent/guardian to become an informed, active, equal member of his/her child’s IEP team, knowing that the child’s parent/guardian is always the child’s best advocate.

Who should I contact?

Please contact The Arc’s in-take advocate, April Hawkins, at who will be able to answer your general questions, assist with referrals, help you to find out if you qualify for services at no charge and connecting you with one of our Board Certified Education Advocates.

Get Started Now

Download a fee-for-service education advocacy client agreement by clicking here.
Download an education advocacy client information sheet by clicking here.
Program Director: 
Jodi Dill