The Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) is comprised of 24 programs which support the local school systems’ continuum of services for students with disabilities, ages 5-21. The programs provide comprehensive educational and therapeutic support services to students who might otherwise require residential or other more restrictive placements due to the severity of one or more of the characteristics associated with a disability exhibiting emotional and behavioral weaknesses.
In 1970, the first GNETS program, the Rutland Center, was established in Athens to serve as a prototype for the statewide network that now exists. Based on a model developed by Dr. Mary M. Wood, the program was funded by the State of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Education to serve students from two to 14 years of age. Additional pilot programs were initiated in Brunswick and Savannah in 1971. By 1976, 24 GNETS programs were established throughout Georgia and then expanded to serve adolescents over the age of 14 in 1979.
Students receiving services through a GNETS Program are referred by their local school system through the Individual Education Program (IEP) process. An IEP team may consider in-class services by a GNETS program for a child with emotional and behavioral needs based upon documentation of the severity of the duration, frequency and intensity of one or more of the characteristics of the student's needs. This documentation must include prior extension of less restrictive services and data which indicate such services have not enabled the child to benefit educationally. For children receiving in-class services, local schools are actively involved and exit criteria are developed upon entry into the GNETS program.