As the number and complexity of special needs children (SNC) increase in the school system, educators are faced with the task of meeting a child’s needs as identified in the individualized education programs (IEP). Although parents are to be involved in the development of the IEPs, their interests and concerns may still remain unidentified. The purpose of this study was to describe the barriers identified by the parents of special needs children, to improve for goal setting through the IEP process within the school system, and based upon these findings, to describe the leadership role of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in advocating for planning and policy. Utilizing the APRN’s knowledge of family and developmental theory, collaboration and communication skills, APRN’s are uniquely situated to lead the educational and health care team on IEP committees in the planning for care of special needs children and their families and by advocating for policies which improve opportunities for the full development of these children. This capstone project is consistent with the mission of Frontier University to provide compassionate and ethical care to those who are the most vulnerable. Using a small focus group of two parents at a local community church in the southeastern U.S. parents of special needs children were asked to share their perspectives on communication, participation, goal-setting and expanding the role of the APRN within the school setting. The focus group session took place over 2 hours at one session and was audio recorded. Responses were then transcribed. Common themes relating to parent’s perceived needs for their children were identified and provided a better understanding of the challenges and barriers parents face and the goals they desire for their children. The results of this capstone project can be used for future study and research in order to provide care for these fragile children and ensure they meet their full potential while in school.