In 1975 the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L.94-142) was created which mandated free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) were also mandated with special education and related services designed to meet the unique individual needs of each child.

Public Law 94-142 was basically a state grant program which contained specific requirements that the states had to follow in order to receive federal funds.

Woman and a child interacting

The major purposes of P.L. 94-142 were:

  • To guarantee that a "free appropriate education," including special education and related service programming, is available to all children and youth with disabilities who require it.
  • To ensure that the rights of children and youth with disabilities and their parents or guardians are protected (e.g., fairness, appropriateness, and due process in decision-making about providing special education and related services to children and youth with disabilities).
  • To assess and ensure the effectiveness of special education at all levels of government.
  • To financially assist the efforts of state and local governments in providing full educational opportunities to all children and youth with disabilities through the use of federal funds.

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