Applying the Forest Grove Balancing Test to Parent Reimbursement for Placement in Residential Medical Facilities

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Education Law Reporter


forest grove, reimburse, parents, residential medical facility, students with disabilities


The Forest Grove balancing test affords an analytical framework for determining whether school districts are required to reimburse parents for the unilateral placement of their children in residential facilities and, although Forest Grove did not involve placement in a residential medical facility, one can argue that the Court's balancing test would apply to such facilities.

The purpose of this article is to examine how the Court's balancing test might apply where parents have unilaterally placed their children in residential medical facilities. Determining whether parents after Forest Grove will be entitled to reimbursement for their unilateral placements in such facilities is a complex question that requires an analysis of three areas under the existing requirements of the IDEA, as well as judicial interpretations of those areas : (1) a consideration of the operation of Forest Grove's balancing test where a school district has failed to furnish a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student; (2) an examination of the IDEA's related services and medical services provisions and their interpretation by courts; and, (3) a discussion of three federal circuit court tests used to assess the appropriateness of parent residential placements.


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