Table of Contents
SPAN Programs & Services
Statewide & Regional Offices
Community Resource Centers

Basic Rights Manual Sections

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Building Partnerships and Advocacy

Federal Laws

What is an Individualized Education Program?

Least Restrictive Environment and Inclusion

Transition to Adulthood

Conflict Resolution


Parent Action Tools

Multiple Intelligences Worksheets

Positive Student Profiles & Goals-at- a-Glance

IEP Questions & Checklist

Who's Who in Your Child's Life & Class Checklist
Sample Letters & Request Forms
NJ DOE OSEP Policy Letters
Clear Violations of the Law
APPENDIX I:  Acronyms & Glossary of Terms
APPENDIX J: Resources

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   Statewide Parent Advocacy Network




1.  This book is for you - the parent, guardian, grandparent, foster parent, surrogate parent, or friend of a child with special needs.

2.  Go through this book.  You may want to add additional information to the binder (i.e., your childís evaluations and IEP).


3.  Bring this book with you to any meetings you attend concerning your child (i.e., IEP meetings, visits with the pediatrician).


4.  Remember:  There will be times you will seek to obtain as much information as you can, while at other times, you will feel you are not able to, or it may not be a priority.  It is our hope that you will continue to use this manual as a resource for many years to help guide you, as you become an advocate for your child.



Revised 2000

A special thanks to the children of the SPAN staff
for their contribution of beautiful original artwork to this manual.


The mission of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc. (SPAN) is to empower families, professionals and other individuals interested in the well being and educational rights of children.  SPANís special commitment is to those children with the greatest need due to disability, poverty, discrimination based on race, sex or language, or other special needs.  SPANís goal is to enable all children to become fully participating and contributing members of society.  We work toward this goal by providing information, training, technical assistance, support and the exchange of ideas.  SPANís multi-faceted program is carried out by a bilingual, multiracial staff of parents of children with and without disabilities.

The Newark Office coordinates parent trainings and telephone information services.  Information Packets / Fact Sheets related to education, law and advocacy, and disability issues, and our comprehensive Basic Rights Manual are available upon request.  Our Multi-Lingual Center, housed at Catholic Family and Community Services in Paterson, provides bilingual (Spanish) information, training and technical assistance.  Our Community Education Project provides targeted support to underserved families in urban communities in Essex County.  Our Satellite Offices coordinate outreach and technical assistance in the northern and southern regions of the state.  Trained volunteers who provide assistance in their local communities staff our Community Resource Centers.  Eight regional resource centers of the Parent Information Resource Center (PIRC) Project work with parents, community partners and staff in schools across the state, especially in Abbott districts and rural communities.  Our Newark hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30am - 5:00pm; intake hours are Monday through Thursday, 10:00am - 2:00pm (except for emergencies). 

New Jersey Inclusive Child Care Project
This program provides information, training and technical assistance to parents and administrators throughout New Jersey, with a special focus on underserved families and urban districts.  Through this program, SPANís Parent Leadership Development Instituteís comprehensive school reform training is available for all Abbott districts; SPAN Resource Parent training opportunities are also included in this grant.  Regional training and technical assistance staff is housed in schools and community organizations in six regions of the state.  Each site offers reference materials and information packets on school reform, special education, Title I, discipline, education laws, health and human services, and other important information.  A Statewide Resource Center is housed at the Newark office.  Through this project and in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse-NJ, SPAN provides training in the Parents-As-Teachers home visitation and learning program for Abbott Early Childhood program Family Outreach workers.  SPAN works with ASPIRA to (a) operate the Camden office, and (b) conduct APEX (Latino parent involvement trainings) in Newark; with Catholic Family and Community Services to operate the Paterson office; and with the Paterson Education Fund to conduct train the trainer sessions about their childís education and whatís happening in the classroom).  Both the APEX and Right Question Project trainings lead naturally into the Parent Leadership Development Institute.

Parent Leadership Development Institute
This program provides a comprehensive eight-session training in school reform, education law, and effective parent participation and leadership for PTA officers, Title I and special education advisory council members, and parents on Abbott-mandated school-based management teams, in Newark and East Orange.  SPAN works with organizations such as ASPIRA, the Urban League, the Education Law Center, the Association for Children of New Jersey, Head Start Councils, other community-based and advocacy groups, and interested schools, to enhance parent leadership development in the targeted communities.  Individual in-person technical assistance for school-based parent groups and parent members of school management teams is available.

Parents Engaged in Public Policy (PEPP)
PEPP Program trains parents to be effective participants in public policy advocacy on issues affecting their children, particularly in the areas of education and health.  The project staff, with extensive legislative and policy experience, conducts workshops, develops Action Alerts on important public policy issues and provides ongoing technical assistance to parent participants to support their engagement in the public policy debate.

Children and Family Initiative (in collaboration with the Association for Children of New Jersey, New Jersey Mental Health Association, and New Jersey Parentsí Caucus)
This program works to engage parents and professionals in a movement for comprehensive, coordinated, culturally competent services for children and families across agencies.  SPAN provides capacity building and leadership development services for families of children with mental health needs.

PTI - Parent Training and Information
SPAN provides statewide training and technical assistance for families of children with disabilities or at risk of academic failure due to poverty, limited English proficiency, inadequate education, or special health, emotional or other needs.  Through paid staff and trained volunteers, SPAN serves more 15,000 families each year.  Our Community Education Project works with urban Essex County families (in collaboration with the Association for Children of New Jersey and the Education Law Center).  The Multilingual Center (in collaboration with Catholic Family and Community Services of Paterson), serves Spanish-speaking families in Passaic County and statewide. The Community Resource Centers covering 18 New Jersey counties (in collaboration with community-based organizations) train volunteer parents to be resources for other parents in their local communities and counties.

Project CARE
Serving families with children with special health care needs, this project provides a project coordinator and part-time parent advocates/Family Resources Specialists at eleven Special Child Health Services case management units located in Bergen, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Union. 

New Jersey Statewide Parent to Parent
Matches parents with experienced parent mentors to share experiences, concerns, and emotions concerning children with special health or emotional needs or disabilities.  Provides orientations to supporting parents.  Parent mentors generally provide support over the telephone.

Family Voices / Bright Futures
This project disseminates information to families and professionals and involves them in public policy discussions and advocacy around health care issues.

New Jersey Inclusive Child Care Project (NJICCP)
The New Jersey Inclusive Child Care Project provides implementation expertise to childcare centers, after school programs and early childhood education programs in order to facilitate the inclusion of children with special needs (disabilities, special health or emotional needs, or at risk due to poverty, limited English proficiency) in non-segregated settings.  Information, training and technical assistance are available to providers, parents, school districts, early intervention programs, and others.

Transition to Adult Life
SPAN provides information, training, technical assistance and support to families and youth (aged 14 to 21) in transitioning to careers, post-secondary education, and adult life.

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Statewide Offices

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc. (SPAN)
35 Halsey Street, 4th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 642-8100  Fax: (973) 642-8080


Multilingual Center
of Catholic Family and Community Services
24 DeGrasse Street, Paterson, NJ 07505
(973) 279-7100


Regional Offices

Northern Satellite Office
Area Served:
Bergen and Hudson counties
Contact: Carolyn Hayer (e-mail:
223 Moore Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601
(201) 343-2009 ext. 237   Fax: (201) 343-0401

Community Education Project (CEP)
35 Halsey Street, 4th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 642-8100 ext. 102  Fax: (973) 642-8080
Contact: Nicole Harper (e-mail: )

Area Served: Newark and surrounding communities

Jersey City
Jersey City Board of Education
346 Claremont Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 915-6760   Fax: (201) 413-6900

Contact: Joyce Andrews (e-mail: )
Alan Haber Jr. (e-mail: )
Area Served:
Hudson, Bergen
Abbott Districts:
Jersey City, Union City, West New York, Harrison, Hoboken, Garfield

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc
 35 Halsey Street, 4th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102
Zoie Barnett (e-mail: )
Suzanne Mouldovan (e-mail: )
Cynthia Stafford
Area Served:
Abbott Districts:
  East Orange and Newark

Plainfield Center for Stronger Families
320 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060
(908) 226-8066   Fax: (908) 226-8082

Vicky Sheppard
Area Served:
Union, Middlesex, Somerset
Abbott Districts:
Plainfield, Elizabeth, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Irvington, Orange

Southern Satellite Office

Area Served: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May,

Cumberland, Salem
Contact: Toni Slowinski (e-mail: )
(609) 767-7774 ext. 6

Multilingual Center of Catholic Family & Community Services
24 DeGrasse Street, Paterson, NJ 07505
(973) 279-7100   Fax: (973) 523-1150
Sheila Mendez (e-mail: ) 
Gabriela Fantauzzi
Area Served:
Passaic, Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset
Abbott Districts: Passaic, Paterson, Phillipsburg

449 Hamilton Road, Trenton, NJ 08609
(609) 392-1144
Dorothy Taylor (e-mail: )
Area Served:
Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth
Abbott Districts: Trenton, Asbury Park, Keansburg, Long Branch, Neptune, Somerset

600 Penn Street, 1st Floor, Camden NJ 08102
(656) 964-9115 
Lourdes Touro

Area Served: Camden, Gloucester, Burlington
Abbott Districts:
Camden, Gloucester, Burlington, Pemberton

Project IMPACT
1669 East Landis Avenue, Vineland, NJ 08361-2942
856-691-4467 ext. 232   Fax: (856) 691-5524 

Maria E. Rodriguez (e-mail: ) 
Area Served: Cumberland, Atlantic, Cape May, Salem
Abbott Districts:
Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville, Pleasantville, Atlantic City

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Community Resource Centers

Atlantic County Resource Center
serving Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties
Contact Persons: Loukeller Bell & Mary Ann Philippi
SPR Coordinators
The Arc of Atlantic County
101 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ 08244

Phone: (609) 926-4584 ext. 123  Fax: (609) 926-9554

Burlington County (BEAM) Resource Center
serving Burlington and Camden counties
Contact Person: Toni Slowinski
Phone: (609) 767-7774 ext. 3  Fax: 856-427-0139 (southern office fax)

Camden County (NJ PATH) Resource Center
serving Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties
Contact Person: Toni Slowinski
Phone: (609) 767-7774 ext. 2

Essex County Resource Center
serving Essex county
Contact Person: Penny Dragonetti, SRP Coordinator
Mental Health Association of Essex County
33 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: (973) 509-9777 ext. 129

Hudson County Resource Center
serving Hudson county
Contact Person: Diane Vasquez, SRP Coordinator
Phone: (201) 915-6760

Hunterdon County Resource Center
serving Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties
Contact Person: Newark SPAN Office 

Monmouth Resource Center
serving Monmouth and Ocean counties
Contact Person: Delilah Amalbert, SRP Coordinator
Family Resource Associates
35 Haddon Ave, Shrewsbury, NJ 07702
Phone: (732) 747-5310  Fax: (732) 747-1896

Morris Resource Center
serving Morris and Union counties
Contact Person: Lorraine Lau, SRP Coordinator
Madison Community House
25 Cook Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: (973) 377-8030
Mailing Address: Morris-Union Resource Center
P.O. Box 164, 21 Madison Plaza
Main Street, Madison, NJ 07940

Northwest Resource Center
serving Sussex and Morris counties
Contact Person: Michael Bertram, SRP Coordinator
Phone: (973) 729-2124
Refer calls to the Northwest Resource Center only
 from the following Morris County towns: Denville,
Dover, Jefferson, Kenvil, Mine Hill, Mt. Arlington, Mt.
Olive, Netcong, Rockaway and Roxsbury.

Passaic Resource Center
serving Passaic county
Contact Person: Angela Abdul, SRP Coordinator
Association for Special Children and Families
P.O. Box 494, Hewitt, NJ 07421
Phone: (973) 728-0999  Fax: (973) 728-5919

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