The vast majority of children who exit Part C are eligible for Part B (91.4%). This percentage has remained relatively constant over the past five years, varying between 90% and 93%. The balance have moved out of state, been withdrawn by parents, were not able to be contacted, or died.
An analysis to determine whether kids are “lost” in the transition from Part C to Part B revealed that about 15% of two-year-old children eligible for Part B on the 2016 National Deaf-Blind Child Count were not included on the 2017 child count as three year olds. Conversely, over one third (34.6%) of the 3-year-old children on the 2017 child count were not included on the 2016 child count as 2 year olds. Clearly, the transition from Part C to Part B represents a major child find challenge. Children and youth exit Part B for a number of reasons. They graduate, age out, transfer to regular education, drop out, or die. From 2013 to 2017, there has been a decrease in the number of youth graduating with a regular diploma, from 199 to 153. This has been accompanied by an increase in the number of youth who have aged-out from 192 to 231.
Ensuring seamless transition between Part C and Part B is critical for maintaining appropriate services for children as they enter preschool. The number of children who seem to be “lost” in this transition warrants attention.
While access to the general curriculum and graduation from high school has improved for the population of children and youth who are deaf-blind, significant efforts are needed to expand these opportunities.
The need for post-secondary education or employment has important implications for the continued development of effective post-secondary supports for students who are exiting Part B every year, whether through having received a diploma or certificate, simply aging out, or transitioning to adult services. The growing number of youth who drop out of school also has important implications for effective educational programming and the continued development of effective post-secondary supports.