Florida Senate - 2016 CS for SB 7034
By the Committees on Appropriations; and Children, Families, and
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to prenatal services and early
3 childhood development; amending s. 383.141, F.S.;
4 revising the requirements for the Department of Health
5 to maintain a clearinghouse of information for parents
6 and health care providers and to increase public
7 awareness of developmental evaluation and early
8 intervention programs; requiring the clearinghouse to
9 use a specified term; revising the information to be
10 included in the clearinghouse; amending s. 391.025,
11 F.S.; renaming the “Infants and Toddlers Early
12 Intervention Program” as the “Early Steps Program”;
13 revising the components of the Children’s Medical
14 Services program; amending s. 391.026, F.S.; requiring
15 the department to serve as the lead agency in
16 administering the Early Steps Program; amending s.
17 391.301, F.S.; establishing the Early Steps Program
18 within the department; deleting provisions relating to
19 legislative findings; authorizing the program to
20 include certain screening and referral services for
21 specified purposes; providing requirements and
22 responsibilities for the program; amending s. 391.302,
23 F.S.; defining terms; revising the definitions of
24 certain terms; deleting terms; amending s. 391.308,
25 F.S.; renaming the “Infants and Toddlers Early
26 Intervention Program” as the “Early Steps Program”;
27 requiring, rather than authorizing, the department to
28 implement and administer the program; requiring the
29 department to ensure that the program follows
30 specified performance standards; providing
31 requirements of the program to meet such performance
32 standards; revising the duties of the department;
33 requiring the department to apply specified
34 eligibility criteria for the program based on an
35 appropriation of funds; providing duties for local
36 program offices; requiring the local program office to
37 negotiate and maintain agreements with specified
38 providers and managed care organizations; requiring
39 the development of an individualized family support
40 plan for each child served in the program; requiring
41 the local program office to coordinate with managed
42 care organizations; requiring the department to submit
43 an annual report, subject to certain requirements, to
44 the Governor, the Legislature, and the Florida
45 Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and
46 Toddlers by a specified date; designating the Florida
47 Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and
48 Toddlers as the state interagency coordinating council
49 required by federal rule subject to certain
50 requirements; providing requirements for the local
51 program office and local school district to prepare
52 certain children for the transition to school under
53 certain circumstances; amending ss. 413.092 and
54 1003.575, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made
55 by the act; repealing ss. 391.303, 391.304, 391.305,
56 391.306, and 391.307, F.S., relating to requirements
57 for the Children’s Medical Services program, program
58 coordination, program standards, program funding and
59 contracts, and program review, respectively; providing
60 an effective date.
62 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
64 Section 1. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 383.141,
65 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
66 383.141 Prenatally diagnosed conditions; patient to be
67 provided information; definitions; information clearinghouse;
68 advisory council.—
69 (2) When a developmental disability is diagnosed based on
70 the results of a prenatal test, the health care provider who
71 ordered the prenatal test, or his or her designee, shall provide
72 the patient with current information about the nature of the
73 developmental disability, the accuracy of the prenatal test, and
74 resources for obtaining relevant support services, including
75 hotlines, resource centers, and information clearinghouses
76 related to Down syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed
77 developmental disabilities; support programs for parents and
78 families; and developmental evaluation and intervention services
79 under this part
80 (3) The Department of Health shall develop and implement a
81 comprehensive information clearinghouse to educate health care
82 providers, inform parents, and increase public awareness
83 regarding brain development, developmental disabilities and
84 delays, and all services, resources, and interventions available
85 to mitigate the effects of impaired development among children.
86 The clearinghouse must use the term “unique abilities” as much
87 as possible when identifying infants or children with
88 developmental disabilities and delays. The clearinghouse must
90 (a) Health information on conditions that may lead to
91 impaired development of physical, learning, language, or
92 behavioral skills.
93 (b) Education and information to support parents whose
94 unborn children have been prenatally diagnosed with
95 developmental disabilities or whose children have diagnosed or
96 suspected developmental delays.
97 (c) Education and training for health care providers to
98 recognize and respond appropriately to developmental
99 disabilities, delays, and conditions related to disabilities or
100 delays. Specific information approved by the advisory council
101 shall be made available to health care providers for use in
102 counseling parents whose unborn children have been prenatally
103 diagnosed with developmental disabilities or whose children have
104 diagnosed or suspected developmental delays.
105 (d) Promotion of public awareness of availability of
106 supportive services, such as resource centers, educational
107 programs, other support programs for parents and families, and
108 developmental evaluation and intervention services.
109 (e) Hotlines specific to Down syndrome and other prenatally
110 diagnosed developmental disabilities. The hotlines and the
111 department’s clearinghouse must provide information to parents
112 and families or other caregivers regarding the Early Steps
113 Program under s. 391.301, the Florida Diagnostic and Learning
114 Resources System, the Early Learning program, Healthy Start,
115 Help Me Grow, and any other intervention programs. Information
116 offered must include directions on how to obtain early
117 intervention, rehabilitative, and habilitative services and
118 devices establish on its Internet website a clearinghouse of
119 information related to developmental disabilities concerning
120 providers of supportive services, information hotlines specific
121 to Down syndrome and other prenatally diagnosed developmental
122 disabilities, resource centers, educational programs, other
123 support programs for parents and families, and developmental
124 evaluation and intervention services under s. 391.303. Such
125 information shall be made available to health care providers for
126 use in counseling pregnant women whose unborn children have been
127 prenatally diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
128 (4)(a) There is established an advisory council within the
129 Department of Health which consists of health care providers and
130 caregivers who perform health care services for persons who have
131 developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome and autism.
132 This group shall consist of nine members as follows:
133 1. Three members appointed by the Governor;
134 2. Three members appointed by the President of the Senate;
136 3. Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House of
138 (b) The advisory council shall provide technical assistance
139 to the Department of Health in the establishment of the
140 information clearinghouse and give the department the benefit of
141 the council members’ knowledge and experience relating to the
142 needs of patients and families of patients with developmental
143 disabilities and available support services.
144 (c) Members of the council shall elect a chairperson and a
145 vice chairperson. The elected chairperson and vice chairperson
146 shall serve in these roles until their terms of appointment on
147 the council expire.
148 (d) The advisory council shall meet quarterly to review
149 this clearinghouse of information, and may meet more often at
150 the call of the chairperson or as determined by a majority of
152 (e) The council members shall be appointed to 4-year terms,
153 except that, to provide for staggered terms, one initial
154 appointee each from the Governor, the President of the Senate,
155 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be
156 appointed to a 2-year term, one appointee each from these
157 officials shall be appointed to a 3-year term, and the remaining
158 initial appointees shall be appointed to 4-year terms. All
159 subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. A vacancy
160 shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the
161 same manner as the original appointment.
162 (f) Members of the council shall serve without
163 compensation. Meetings of the council may be held in person,
164 without reimbursement for travel expenses, or by teleconference
165 or other electronic means.
166 (g) The Department of Health shall provide administrative
167 support for the advisory council.
168 Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
169 391.025, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
170 391.025 Applicability and scope.—
171 (1) The Children’s Medical Services program consists of the
172 following components:
173 (c) The developmental evaluation and intervention program,
174 including the Early Steps Florida Infants and Toddlers Early
175 Intervention Program.
176 Section 3. Subsection (19) is added to section 391.026,
177 Florida Statutes, to read:
178 391.026 Powers and duties of the department.—The department
179 shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities:
180 (19) To serve as the lead agency in administering the Early
181 Steps Program pursuant to part C of the federal Individuals with
182 Disabilities Education Act and part III of this chapter.
183 Section 4. Section 391.301, Florida Statutes, is amended to
185 391.301 Early Steps Program; establishment and goals
186 Developmental evaluation and intervention programs; legislative
187 findings and intent.—
188 (1) The Early Steps Program is established within the
189 department to serve infants and toddlers who are at risk of
190 developmental disabilities based on a physical or mental
191 condition and infants and toddlers with developmental delays by
192 providing developmental evaluation and early intervention and by
193 providing families with training and support services in a
194 variety of home and community settings in order to enhance
195 family and caregiver competence, confidence, and capacity to
196 meet their child’s developmental needs and desired outcomes. The
197 Legislature finds that the high-risk and disabled newborn
198 infants in this state need in-hospital and outpatient
199 developmental evaluation and intervention and that their
200 families need training and support services. The Legislature
201 further finds that there is an identifiable and increasing
202 number of infants who need developmental evaluation and
203 intervention and family support due to the fact that increased
204 numbers of low-birthweight and sick full-term newborn infants
205 are now surviving because of the advances in neonatal intensive
206 care medicine; increased numbers of medically involved infants
207 are remaining inappropriately in hospitals because their parents
208 lack the confidence or skills to care for these infants without
209 support; and increased numbers of infants are at risk due to
210 parent risk factors, such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancy,
211 and other high-risk conditions.
212 (2) The program may include screening and referral It is
213 the intent of the Legislature to establish developmental
214 evaluation and intervention services at all hospitals providing
215 Level II or Level III neonatal intensive care services, in order
216 to promptly identify newborns with disabilities or with
217 conditions associated with risks of developmental delays so that
218 families with high-risk or disabled infants may gain as early as
219 possible the services and skills they need to support their
220 infants’ development infants.
221 (3) The program must It is the intent of the Legislature
222 that a methodology be developed to integrate information and
223 coordinate services on infants with potentially disabling
224 conditions with other programs serving infants and toddlers
225 early intervention programs, including, but not limited to, Part
226 C of Pub. L. No. 105-17 and the Healthy Start program, the
227 newborn screening program, and the Blind Babies Program.
228 (4) The program must:
229 (a) Provide services to enhance the development of infants
230 and toddlers with disabilities and delays.
231 (b) Expand the recognition by health care providers,
232 families, and the public of the significant brain development
233 that occurs during a child’s first 3 years of life.
234 (c) Maintain the importance of the family in all areas of
235 the child’s development and support the family’s participation
236 in early intervention services and decisions affecting the
238 (d) Operate a comprehensive, coordinated interagency system
239 of early intervention services and supports in accordance with
240 part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education
242 (e) Ensure timely evaluation, individual planning, and
243 early intervention services necessary to meet the unique needs
244 of eligible infants and toddlers.
245 (f) Build the service capacity and enhance the competencies
246 of health care providers serving infants and toddlers with
247 unique needs and abilities.
248 (g) Ensure programmatic and fiscal accountability through
249 establishment of a high-capacity data system, active monitoring
250 of performance indicators, and ongoing quality improvement.
251 Section 5. Section 391.302, Florida Statutes, is amended to
253 391.302 Definitions.—As used in ss. 391.301-391.308 ss.
254 391.301-391.307, the term:
255 (1) “Developmental delay” means a condition, identified and
256 measured through appropriate instruments and procedures, which
257 may delay physical, cognitive, communication, social or
258 emotional, or adaptive development.
259 (2) “Developmental disability” means a condition,
260 identified and measured through appropriate instruments and
261 procedures, which may impair physical, cognitive, communication,
262 social or emotional, or adaptive development.
263 (3) “Developmental intervention” or “early intervention”
264 means individual and group individualized therapies and services
265 needed to enhance both the infant’s or toddler’s growth and
266 development and family functioning. The term includes
267 habilitative services and assistive technology devices,
268 rehabilitative services and assistive technology devices, and
269 parent support and training.
270 (4) “Habilitative services and devices” means health care
271 services and assistive technology devices that help a child
272 maintain, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily
274 (5) (2) “Infant or toddler” or “child” means a child from
275 birth until the child’s third birthday.
276 (3) “In-hospital intervention services” means the provision
277 of assessments; the provision of individualized services;
278 monitoring and modifying the delivery of medical interventions;
279 and enhancing the environment for the high-risk, developmentally
280 disabled, or medically involved infant or toddler in order to
281 achieve optimum growth and development.
282 (6) “Local program office” means an office that administers
283 the Early Steps Program within a municipality, county, or
285 (4) “Parent support and training” means a range of services
286 to families of high-risk, developmentally disabled, or medically
287 involved infants or toddlers, including family counseling;
288 financial planning; agency referral; development of parent-to
289 parent support groups; education concerning growth, development,
290 and developmental intervention and objective measurable skills,
291 including abuse avoidance skills; training of parents to
292 advocate for their child ; and bereavement counseling .
293 (7) “Rehabilitative services and devices” means restorative
294 and remedial services that maintain or enhance the current level
295 of functioning of a child if there is a possibility of
296 improvement or reversal of impairment.
297 Section 6. Section 391.308, Florida Statutes, is amended to
299 391.308 Early Steps Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention
300 Program.—The department shall Department of Health may implement
301 and administer part C of the federal Individuals with
302 Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which shall be known as the
303 “Early Steps “Florida Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention
305 (1) PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.—The department shall ensure that
306 the Early Steps Program complies with the following performance
308 (a) The program must provide services from referral through
309 transition in a family-centered manner that recognizes and
310 responds to unique circumstances and needs of infants and
311 toddlers and their families as measured by a variety of
312 qualitative data, including satisfaction surveys, interviews,
313 focus groups, and input from stakeholders.
314 (b) The program must provide individualized family support
315 plans that are understandable and usable by families, health
316 care providers, and payers and that identify the current level
317 of functioning of the infant or toddler, family supports and
318 resources, expected outcomes, and specific early intervention
319 services needed to achieve the expected outcomes, as measured by
320 periodic system independent evaluation.
321 (c) The program must help each family to use available
322 resources in a way that maximizes the child’s access to services
323 necessary to achieve the outcomes of the individualized family
324 support plan, as measured by family feedback and by independent
325 assessments of services used by each child.
326 (d) The program must offer families access to quality
327 services that effectively enable infants and toddlers with
328 developmental disabilities and developmental delays to achieve
329 optimal functional levels as measured by an independent
330 evaluation of outcome indicators in social or emotional skills,
331 communication, and adaptive behaviors.
332 (2) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.—The department , shall:
333 (a) Jointly with the Department of Education, shall
334 Annually prepare a grant application to the United States
335 Department of Education for funding early intervention services
336 for infants and toddlers with disabilities, from birth through
337 36 months of age, and their families pursuant to part C of the
338 federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
339 (b) (2) The department, Jointly with the Department of
340 Education, provide shall include a reading initiative as an
341 early intervention service for infants and toddlers.
342 (c) Annually develop a state plan for the Early Steps
344 1. The plan must assess the need for early intervention
345 services, evaluate the extent of the statewide need that is met
346 by the program, identify barriers to fully meeting the need, and
347 recommend specific action steps to improve program performance.
348 2. The plan must be developed through an inclusive process
349 that involves families, local program offices, health care
350 providers, and other stakeholders.
351 (d) Ensure local program offices educate hospitals that
352 provide Level II and Level III neonatal intensive care services
353 about the Early Steps Program and the referral process for the
354 provision of developmental evaluation and intervention services.
355 (e) Establish standards and qualifications for
356 developmental evaluation and early intervention service
357 providers, including standards for determining the adequacy of
358 provider networks in each local program office service area.
359 (f) Establish statewide uniform protocols and procedures to
360 determine eligibility for developmental evaluation and early
361 intervention services.
362 (g) Establish a consistent, statewide format and procedure
363 for preparing and completing an individualized family support
365 (h) Promote interagency cooperation and coordination, with
366 the Medicaid program, the Department of Education program
367 pursuant to part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities
368 Education Act, and programs providing child screening such as
369 the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System, the Office
370 of Early Learning, Healthy Start, and the Help Me Grow program.
371 1. Coordination with the Medicaid program shall be
372 developed and maintained through written agreements with the
373 Agency for Health Care Administration and Medicaid managed care
374 organizations as well as through active and ongoing
375 communication with these organizations. The department shall
376 assist local program offices to negotiate agreements with
377 Medicaid managed care organizations in the service areas of the
378 local program offices. Such agreements may be formal or
380 2. Coordination with education programs pursuant to part B
381 of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act shall
382 be developed and maintained through written agreements with the
383 Department of Education. The department shall assist local
384 program offices to negotiate agreements with school districts in
385 the service areas of the local program offices.
386 (i) Develop and disseminate the knowledge and methods
387 necessary to effectively coordinate benefits among various payer
389 (j) Provide a mediation process and if necessary, an
390 appeals process for applicants found ineligible for
391 developmental evaluation or early intervention services or
392 denied financial support for such services.
393 (k) Competitively procure local program offices to provide
394 services throughout the state in accordance with chapter 287.
395 The department shall specify the requirements and qualifications
396 for local program offices in the procurement document.
397 (l) Establish performance standards and other metrics for
398 evaluation of local program offices, including standards for
399 measuring timeliness of services, outcomes of early intervention
400 services, and administrative efficiency. Performance standards
401 and metrics shall be developed in consultation with local
402 program offices.
403 (m) Provide technical assistance to the local program
405 (3) ELIGIBILITY.—The department shall apply the following
406 eligibility criteria if specific funding is provided, and the
407 associated applicable eligibility criteria are identified, in
408 the General Appropriations Act:
409 (a) Infants and toddlers are eligible for an evaluation to
410 determine the presence of a developmental disability or the risk
411 of a developmental delay based on a physical or medical
413 (b) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
414 delay based on informed clinical opinion and an evaluation using
415 a standard evaluation instrument which results in a score that
416 is 1.5 standard deviations from the mean in two or more of the
417 following domains: physical, cognitive, communication, social or
418 emotional, and adaptive.
419 (c) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
420 delay based on informed clinical opinion and an evaluation using
421 a standard evaluation instrument which results in a score that
422 is 2.0 standard deviations from the mean in one of the following
423 domains: physical, cognitive, communication, social or
424 emotional, and adaptive.
425 (d) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
426 delay based on informed clinical opinion and an evaluation using
427 a standard evaluation instrument which results in a score that
428 is 1.5 standard deviations from the mean in one or more of the
429 following domains: physical, cognitive, communication, social or
430 emotional, and adaptive.
431 (e) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
432 delay based on informed clinical opinion.
433 (f) Infants and toddlers at risk of developmental delay
434 based on an established condition known to result in
435 developmental delay, or a physical or mental condition known to
436 create a risk of developmental delay.
437 (4) DUTIES OF THE LOCAL PROGRAM OFFICES.—A local program
438 office shall:
439 (a) Evaluate a child to determine eligibility within 45
440 calendar days after the child is referred to the program.
441 (b) Notify the parent or legal guardian of his or her
442 child’s eligibility status initially and at least annually
443 thereafter. If a child is determined not to be eligible, the
444 local program office must provide the parent or legal guardian
445 with written information on the right to an appeal and the
446 process for making such an appeal.
447 (c) Secure and maintain interagency agreements or contracts
448 with local school districts in a local service area.
449 (d) Provide services directly or procure services from
450 health care providers that meet or exceed the minimum
451 qualifications established for service providers. The local
452 program office must become a Medicaid provider if it provides
453 services directly.
454 (e) Provide directly or procure services that are, to the
455 extent possible, delivered in a child’s natural environment,
456 such as in the child’s home or community setting. The inability
457 to provide services in the natural environment is not a
458 sufficient reason to deny services.
459 (f) Develop an individualized family support plan for each
460 child served. The plan must:
461 1. Be completed within 45 calendar days after the child is
462 referred to the program;
463 2. Be developed in conjunction with the child’s parent or
464 legal guardian who provides written consent for the services
465 included in the plan;
466 3. Be reviewed at least every 6 months with the parent or
467 legal guardian and updated if needed; and
468 4. Include steps to transition to school or other future
469 services by the child’s third birthday.
470 (g) Assess the progress of the child and his or her family
471 in meeting the goals of the individualized family support plan.
472 (h) For each service required by the individualized family
473 support plan, refer the child to an appropriate service provider
474 or work with Medicaid managed care organizations or private
475 insurers to secure the needed services.
476 (i) Provide service coordination, including contacting the
477 appropriate service provider to determine whether the provider
478 can timely deliver the service, providing the parent or legal
479 guardian with the name and contact information of the service
480 provider and the date and location of the service of any
481 appointment made on behalf of the child, and contacting the
482 parent or legal guardian after the service is provided to ensure
483 that the service is timely delivered and to determine whether
484 the family requests additional services.
485 (j) Negotiate and maintain agreements with Medicaid
486 providers and Medicaid managed care organizations in its area.
487 1. With the parent’s or legal guardian’s permission, the
488 services in the child’s approved individualized family support
489 plan shall be communicated to the Medicaid managed care
490 organization. Services that cannot be funded by Medicaid must be
491 specifically identified and explained to the family.
492 2. The agreement between the local program office and
493 Medicaid managed care organizations must establish methods of
494 communication and procedures for the timely approval of services
495 covered by Medicaid.
496 (k) Develop agreements and arrangements with private
497 insurers in order to coordinate benefits and services for any
498 mutual enrollee.
499 1. The child’s approved individualized family support plan
500 may be communicated to the child’s insurer with the parent’s or
501 legal guardian’s permission.
502 2. The local program office and private insurers shall
503 establish methods of communication and procedures for the timely
504 approval of services covered by the child’s insurer, if
505 appropriate and approved by the child’s parent or legal
507 (l) Provide to the department data necessary for an
508 evaluation of the local program office performance.
509 (5) ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTING.—By December 1 of each year,
510 the department shall prepare and submit a report that assesses
511 the performance of the Early Steps Program to the Governor, the
512 President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
513 Representatives, and the Florida Interagency Coordinating
514 Council for Infants and Toddlers. The department must address
515 the performance standards in subsection (1) and report actual
516 performance compared to the standards for the prior fiscal year.
517 The data used to compile the report must be submitted by each
518 local program office in the state. The department shall report
519 on all of the following measures:
520 (a) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers served
521 with an individualized family support plan.
522 (b) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers
523 demonstrating improved social or emotional skills after the
525 (c) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers
526 demonstrating improved use of knowledge and cognitive skills
527 after the program.
528 (d) Number and percentage of families reporting positive
529 outcomes in their infant’s and toddler’s development as a result
530 of early intervention services.
531 (e) Progress toward meeting the goals of individualized
532 family support plans.
533 (f) Any additional measures established by the department.
534 (6) STATE INTERAGENCY COORDINATING COUNCIL.—The Florida
535 Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers shall
536 serve as the state interagency coordinating council required by
537 34 C.F.R. s. 303.600. The council shall be housed for
538 administrative purposes in the department, and the department
539 shall provide administrative support to the council.
540 (7) TRANSITION TO EDUCATION.—
541 (a) At least 90 days before a child reaches 3 years of age,
542 the local program office shall initiate transition planning to
543 ensure the child’s successful transition from the Early Steps
544 Program to a school district program for children with
545 disabilities or to another program as part of an individual
546 family support plan.
547 (b) At least 90 days before a child reaches 3 years of age,
548 the local program office shall:
549 1. Notify the local school district in which the child
550 resides and the Department of Education that the child may be
551 eligible for special education or related services as determined
552 by the local school district pursuant to ss. 1003.21 and
553 1003.57, unless the child’s parent or legal guardian has opted
554 out of such notification; and
555 2. Upon approval by the child’s parent or legal guardian,
556 convene a transition conference that includes participation of a
557 local school district representative and the parent or legal
558 guardian to discuss options for and availability of services.
559 (c) The local school district shall evaluate and determine
560 a child’s eligibility to receive special education or related
561 services pursuant to part B of the federal Individuals with
562 Disabilities Education Act and ss. 1003.21 and 1003.57.
563 (d) The local program office, in conjunction with the local
564 school district, shall modify a child’s individual family
565 support plan or, if applicable, the local school district shall
566 develop an individual education plan for the child pursuant to
567 ss. 1003.57, 1003.571, and 1003.5715, which identifies special
568 education or related services that the child will receive and
569 the providers or agencies that will provide such services.
570 (e) If a child is determined to be ineligible for school
571 district program services, the local program office and the
572 local school district shall provide the child’s parent or legal
573 guardian with written information on other available services or
574 community resources.
575 (f) The local program office shall negotiate and maintain
576 an interagency agreement with each local school district in its
577 service area pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities
578 Education Act, 20 U.S.C. s. 1435(a)(10)(F). Each interagency
579 agreement must be reviewed at least annually and updated upon
580 review, if needed.
581 Section 7. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 413.092,
582 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
583 413.092 Blind Babies Program.—
584 (1) The Blind Babies Program is created within the Division
585 of Blind Services of the Department of Education to provide
586 community-based early-intervention education to children from
587 birth through 5 years of age who are blind or visually impaired,
588 and to their parents, families, and caregivers, through
589 community-based provider organizations. The division shall
590 enlist parents, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, schools, the
591 Early Steps Program Infant and Toddlers Early Intervention
592 Programs, and therapists to help identify and enroll blind and
593 visually impaired children, as well as their parents, families,
594 and caregivers, in these educational programs.
595 (2) The program is not an entitlement but shall promote
596 early development with a special emphasis on vision skills to
597 minimize developmental delays. The education shall lay the
598 groundwork for future learning by helping a child progress
599 through normal developmental stages. It shall teach children to
600 discover and make the best use of their skills for future
601 success in school. It shall seek to ensure that visually
602 impaired and blind children enter school as ready to learn as
603 their sighted classmates. The program shall seek to link these
604 children, and their parents, families, and caregivers, to other
605 available services, training, education, and employment programs
606 that could assist these families in the future. This linkage may
607 include referrals to the school districts and the Early Steps
608 Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Program for assessments
609 to identify any additional services needed which are not
610 provided by the Blind Babies Program. The division shall develop
611 a formula for eligibility based on financial means and may
612 create a means-based matrix to set a copayment fee for families
613 having sufficient financial means.
614 Section 8. Subsection (1) of section 1003.575, Florida
615 Statutes, is amended to read:
616 1003.575 Assistive technology devices; findings;
617 interagency agreements.—Accessibility, utilization, and
618 coordination of appropriate assistive technology devices and
619 services are essential as a young person with disabilities moves
620 from early intervention to preschool, from preschool to school,
621 from one school to another, and from school to employment or
622 independent living. If an individual education plan team makes a
623 recommendation in accordance with State Board of Education rule
624 for a student with a disability, as defined in s. 1003.01(3), to
625 receive an assistive technology assessment, that assessment must
626 be completed within 60 school days after the team’s
627 recommendation. To ensure that an assistive technology device
628 issued to a young person as part of his or her individualized
629 family support plan, individual support plan, or an individual
630 education plan remains with the individual through such
631 transitions, the following agencies shall enter into interagency
632 agreements, as appropriate, to ensure the transaction of
633 assistive technology devices:
634 (1) The Early Steps Florida Infants and Toddlers Early
635 Intervention Program in the Division of Children’s Medical
636 Services of the Department of Health.
638 Interagency agreements entered into pursuant to this section
639 shall provide a framework for ensuring that young persons with
640 disabilities and their families, educators, and employers are
641 informed about the utilization and coordination of assistive
642 technology devices and services that may assist in meeting
643 transition needs, and shall establish a mechanism by which a
644 young person or his or her parent may request that an assistive
645 technology device remain with the young person as he or she
646 moves through the continuum from home to school to postschool.
647 Section 9. Section 391.303, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
648 Section 10. Section 391.304, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
649 Section 11. Section 391.305, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
650 Section 12. Section 391.306, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
651 Section 13. Section 391.307, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
652 Section 14. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.