Maryland Special Needs Advocacy Project


What is MDSNAP?


  • Provides free educational advocacy services for Jewish children with special needs, from birth to age 21
  • Listens to concerns and helps parents help their children
  • Assists over 200 families to navigate the special education system each year
  • Works with parents to prepare for IFSP and IEP meetings and will accompany them to these meetings
  • Educates parents about their legal rights (does not provide legal counsel)
  • Offers information, resources and referrals
  • Maintains confidentiality at all times
  • Serves as the family relations arm of the PEN Project

The PEN Project is a collaborative endeavor of the Macks Center for Jewish Education, the Baltimore Jewish Council, Maryland State Department of Education, Baltimore City Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools, Baltimore City Infants and Toddlers Program, and Baltimore County Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Program.  The PEN Program helps families access Child Find, a federal mandate to locate and identify students with educational disabilities, ages 0-21, regardless of where they are educated.  To make a referral to Child Find, complete the PEN Form. The MSDE liaison will contact the parent, and in a few weeks parents should receive a meeting invitation letter from the school system.  It is highly recommended that parents contact MDSNAP for information and support prior to the meeting date.

Important Timelines:

Stage Time Allowed Between Stages 
 Initial Referral →  meeting to review assessments and develop plan  90 calendar days
 Initial Referral Consent for Evaluation → Meeting to review assessments  60 calendar days
 Subsequent Testing Consent for Evaluation Requested → Meeting to review assessments  90 calendar days
 IEP Written and Approved by IEP Team → IEP implemented  ASAP
 Annual Review   Each year
 Reevaluation  Every three year

Click here to view the Powerpoint presentation on Advocacy for Parentally Placed Private School Students with Disabilities, presented at the National Learning Disabilities Conference in San Antonio, February 2013.

Parental Consult Bill-Fact Sheet

For more information about MDSNAP, please email or

CJE is an agency funded by THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.