2014 Florida Statutes
Chapter 411 HANDICAP OR HIGH-RISK CONDITION PREVENTION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSISTANCE Entire Chapter
411.226 Learning Gateway.—
(1) PROGRAM GOALS.—The Legislature authorizes a 3-year demonstration program, to be called the Learning Gateway, the purpose of which is to provide parents access to information, referral, and services to lessen the effects of learning disabilities in children from birth to age 9. Parental consent shall be required for initial contact and referral for evaluation and services provided through the Learning Gateway. Each pilot program must design and test an integrated, community-based system to help parents identify learning problems and access early education and intervention services in order to minimize or prevent learning disabilities. The Learning Gateway must be available to parents in the settings where they and their children live, work, seek care, or study. The goals of the Learning Gateway are to:
(a) Improve community awareness and education of parents and practitioners about the warning signs or precursors of learning problems and learning disabilities, including disorders or delayed development in language, attention, behavior, and social-emotional functioning, including dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in children from birth through age 9.
(b) Improve access for children who are experiencing early learning problems and their families to appropriate programs, services, and supports through improved outreach and referral processes among providers.
(c) Improve developmental monitoring and the availability to parents of appropriate screening resources, with emphasis on children from birth through age 9 who are at high risk of having learning problems.
(d) Improve the availability to parents of appropriate education and intervention programs, services, and supports to address learning problems and learning disabilities.
(e) Identify gaps in the array of services and supports so that an appropriate child-centered and family-centered continuum of education and support would be readily available in each community.
(f) Improve accountability of the system through improved planning, integration, and collaboration among providers and through outcome measurement in collaboration with parents.
(2) LEARNING GATEWAY STEERING COMMITTEE.—
(a) To ensure that parents of children with potential learning problems and learning disabilities have access to the appropriate necessary services and supports, an 18-member steering committee is created. The steering committee is assigned to the Department of Education for administrative purposes.
(b) The duties of the Learning Gateway Steering Committee are to provide policy development, consultation, oversight, and support for the implementation of three demonstration programs and to advise the agencies, the Legislature, and the Governor on statewide implementation of system components and issues and on strategies for continuing improvement to the system.
(c) The steering committee shall direct the administering agency of the Learning Gateway program to expend the funds appropriated for the steering committee’s use to procure the products delineated in s. 411.227 through contracts or other means. The steering committee and the Learning Gateway pilot programs will provide information and referral for services but will not provide direct services to parents or children.
(d) The steering committee must include parents, service providers, and representatives of the disciplines relevant to diagnosis of and intervention in early learning problems. The Governor shall appoint one member from the private sector who has expertise in communications, management or service provision, one member who has expertise in children’s vision, one member who has expertise in learning disabilities, one member who has expertise in audiology, one member who is a parent of a child eligible for services by the Learning Gateway, and one provider of related diagnostic and intervention services. The President of the Senate shall appoint one member from the private sector who has expertise in communications, management or service provision, one member who has expertise in emergent literacy, one member who has expertise in pediatrics, one member who has expertise in brain development, one member who is a parent of a child eligible for services by the Learning Gateway, and one member who is a provider of related diagnostic and intervention services. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint one member from the private sector who has expertise in communications, management or service provision, one member who has expertise in environmental health and allergies, one member who has expertise in children’s nutrition, one member who has expertise in family medicine, one parent of a child eligible for services by the Learning Gateway, and one member who is a school psychologist providing diagnostic and intervention services.
(e) To support and facilitate system improvements, the steering committee must consult with representatives from the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Office of Early Learning, the Department of Children and Families, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Corrections and with the director of the Learning Development and Evaluation Center of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
(f) Steering committee appointments must be made, and the committee must hold its first meeting, within 90 days after this act takes effect. Steering committee members shall be appointed to serve a term of 3 years. The Governor shall designate the chair of the steering committee.
(g) Steering committee members shall not receive compensation for their services, but may receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred under s. 112.061.
(3) LEARNING GATEWAY DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS.—
(a) Within 90 days after its initial meeting, the Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall accept proposals from interagency consortia in Orange, Manatee, and St. Lucie counties which comprise public and private providers, community agencies, business representatives, and the local school board in each county to serve as demonstration sites for design and development of a system that addresses the requirements in s. 411.227. If there is no proposal from one of the designated counties, the steering committee may select another county to serve as a demonstration site by majority vote.
(b) The proposals for demonstration projects must provide a comprehensive and detailed description of the system of care. The description of the proposed system of care must clearly indicate the point of access for parents, integration of services, linkages of providers, and additional array of services required to address the needs of children and families.
(c) The demonstration projects should ensure that the system of care appropriately includes existing services to the fullest extent possible and should determine additional programs, services, and supports that would be necessary to implement the requirements of this act.
(d) The projects, in conjunction with the steering committee, shall determine what portion of the system can be funded using existing funds, demonstration funds provided by this act, and other available private and community funds.
(e) The demonstration projects shall recommend to the steering committee the linking or combining of some or all of the local planning bodies, including school readiness coalitions, Healthy Start coalitions, Part C advisory councils, Department of Children and Families community alliances, and other boards or councils that have a primary focus on services for children from birth to age 9, to the extent allowed by federal regulations, if such changes would improve coordination and reduce unnecessary duplication of effort.
(f) Demonstration projects shall use public and private partnerships, partnerships with faith-based organizations, and volunteers, as appropriate, to enhance accomplishment of the goals of the system.
(g) Addressing system components delineated in s. 411.227, each demonstration project proposal must include, at a minimum:
1. Protocols for requiring and receiving parental consent for Learning Gateway services.
2. A method for establishing communication with parents and coordination and planning processes within the community.
3. Action steps for making appropriate linkages to existing services within the community.
4. Procedures to determine gaps in services and identify appropriate providers.
5. A lead agency to serve as the system access point, or gateway.
(h) As authorized under the budget authority of the Department of Education, demonstration projects, representative of the diversity of the communities in this state, shall be established in Manatee, Orange, and St. Lucie counties as local Learning Gateway sites and shall be authorized to hire staff, establish office space, and contract for administrative services as needed to implement the project within the budget designated by the Legislature.
(i) The steering committee must approve, deny, or conditionally approve a Learning Gateway proposal within 60 days after receipt of the proposal. If a proposal is conditionally approved, the steering committee must assist the Learning Gateway applicant to correct deficiencies in the proposal by December 1, 2002. Funds must be available to a pilot program 15 days after final approval of its proposal by the steering committee. Funds must be available to all pilot programs by January 1, 2003.
History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-265; s. 1, ch. 2003-3; s. 10, ch. 2004-484; s. 315, ch. 2011-142; s. 218, ch. 2014-19.