As a parent, Beth Ann can relate to the experience of being lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated attempting to get appropriate support for a child with behavioral health challenges. She is the proud mother of two incredible young men who both experienced challenges in school but in different ways. Thankfully, the years spent absorbing as much information as she could to better understand her children’s needs and how to obtain effective services for them both in school and in the community paid off. Today both sons are in high school and accessing their education successfully. Beth Ann now helps other families navigate the complexities of the systems and educational rights of children that she has spent years experiencing, studying, and understanding on a deep level.
Beth Ann Hancock
In educational advocacy, solid training matters. An effective advocate is well versed in several areas, including Federal and State special education law and regulations, curriculum standards, assessments, school system hierarchy, dispute options, communication strategies, and accessing assistance in the community.
Beth Ann has received training in special education advocacy from several highly regarded programs and sources. She is a graduate of the LEADers program through Parent’s Place of Maryland, Family Leadership Institute (FLI) at Maryland Coalition of Families, and COPAA‘s Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT) 2.0. For the latter, she also completed a practicum under respected local advocate and retired school psychologist Ms. Debra Martin at Best Solutions Educational Services. She also successfully completed the Partners in Policymaking course through the The Arc Maryland in 2022. Additionally, she has attended hundreds of hours of other related presentations and trainings including ones led by Pete Wright and Ross Greene.
The year 2008 is one that is firmly planted in Beth Ann’s memory as it is the first time she became aware of the special education process. Luckily she has a friend who is knowledgeable about the steps needed in order to request evaluation for special education assistance, because the school was not providing that information readily. Since that time Beth Ann has continued to advocate for her children and has ensured they are in appropriate environments for learning.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Beth Ann co-chaired the Prince George’s County Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC). She also became a member of the Special Education Coalition of Prince George’s County, where she remains an active and contributing member. In her first 3 years working as a Family Peer Support Specialist with the Maryland Coalition of Families (MCF) Beth Ann was an active member of many Prince George’s County behavioral health programs. She created and chaired a Family Behavioral Health Advisory Council, participated in the Systems of Care Core Team and the county’s Behavioral Health Advisory Group. She also served as the parent advocate on the Local Management Board’s Local Care Team. Additionally, Beth Ann facilitated monthly support groups specifically designed for parents of children with behavioral health challenges in partnership with NAMI. Her final years employed by MCF focused on providing support to families in Charles County, Maryland.
For over a decade, Beth Ann has attended hundreds of IEP meetings with families throughout the state of Maryland, including Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties. She has led workshops and trainings on the special education process and has been a panel member for discussions regarding children’s mental health and navigating the special education system.
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