The CAC and Parent Engagement

Providing a high-quality special education experience for each child invovles a team effort, and parent participation is central to meeting student needs and IEP goals.  Collaboration with parents through SELPA is facilitated through the Community Advisory Committee (CAC).  These CACs are a vital component of effective special education programs in California. They are commissioned by law and are a reflection of the communities they serve. CACs are composed of parents, educators, pupils and adults with disabilities, representatives of public and private agencies, and persons concerned with the needs of individuals with disabilities. They are appointed by their governing boards in accordance with locally determined selection procedures described in the SELPA Local Plan.Picture of a family next to their statement about how their SELPA has helped them

Community Advisory Committees have specific and important roles and responsibilities which are reviewed in the California CAC Handbook guidelines. Every Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) is required to establish a CAC. Across California, many CACs are vibrant, creative bodies that assist in advising local governing boards about the Local Plan, annual priorities, parent education, and other specified Special Education related activities.

CACs are designed to be a dynamic collaborative partnership of educators, parents, and community members. The active participation of the membership of each CAC meets the mandate of informed parent-community involvement between those who provide Special Education programs and services and those who receive Special Education programs and services.

Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards

Parents and Guardians of students with disabilities are afforded rights in the special education process.  A full copy of the Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards document is offered to families at each annual Individual Education Plan meeting, and parents and guardians may ask any IEP team member questions about the process along the way.  The English and Spanish documents are located here in full and are also on the CDE website.  Some SELPAs have been willing to share translations in other language to be housed here.

Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (English)
Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Spanish)
Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Arabic)
Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Hebrew)
Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Hindi)
Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Polish)
Parent Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Russian)
English/Spanish Translations for IEP Language, from the Office of Special Education Programs
Special Education Acronyms

For additional information about your SELPA Community Advisory Committee, ask your child's case manager, psychologist, program specialist, or special education administrator, or simply contact your local SELPA office.  If you are not sure what SELPA you are a part of, send an email with the name of your school, charter school, school district and county to us at