2010 Florida Statutes
HANDICAP OR HIGH-RISK CONDITION PREVENTION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSISTANCE
PREVENTION AND EARLY ASSISTANCE
CHILDHOOD PREGNANCY PREVENTION PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM
School readiness programs; early learning coalitions.—
SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “School Readiness Act.”
The Legislature recognizes that school readiness programs increase children’s chances of achieving future educational success and becoming productive members of society. It is the intent of the Legislature that the programs be developmentally appropriate, research-based, involve the parent as a child’s first teacher, serve as preventive measures for children at risk of future school failure, enhance the educational readiness of eligible children, and support family education. Each school readiness program shall provide the elements necessary to prepare at-risk children for school, including health screening and referral and an appropriate educational program.
It is the intent of the Legislature that school readiness programs be operated on a full-day, year-round basis to the maximum extent possible to enable parents to work and become financially self-sufficient.
It is the intent of the Legislature that school readiness programs not exist as isolated programs, but build upon existing services and work in cooperation with other programs for young children, and that school readiness programs be coordinated to achieve full effectiveness.
It is the intent of the Legislature that the administrative staff for school readiness programs be kept to the minimum necessary to administer the duties of the Agency for Workforce Innovation and early learning coalitions. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt system support services at the state level to build a comprehensive early learning system. Each early learning coalition shall implement and maintain direct enhancement services at the local level, as approved in its school readiness plan by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, and ensure access to such services in all 67 counties.
It is the intent of the Legislature that the school readiness program coordinate and operate in conjunction with the district school systems. However, it is also the intent of the Legislature that the school readiness program not be construed as part of the system of free public schools but rather as a separate program for children under the age of kindergarten eligibility, funded separately from the system of free public schools, utilizing a mandatory sliding fee scale, and providing an integrated and seamless system of school readiness services for the state’s birth-to-kindergarten population.
It is the intent of the Legislature that school readiness services be an integrated and seamless program of services with a developmentally appropriate education component for the state’s eligible birth-to-kindergarten population described in subsection (6) and not be construed as part of the seamless K-20 education system.
PARENTAL PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAMS.—This section does not:
Relieve parents and guardians of their own obligations to prepare their children for school; or
Create any obligation to provide publicly funded school readiness programs or services beyond those authorized by the Legislature.
AGENCY FOR WORKFORCE INNOVATION.—
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall administer school readiness programs at the state level and shall coordinate with the early learning coalitions in providing school readiness services on a full-day, full-year, full-choice basis to the extent possible in order to enable parents to work and be financially self-sufficient.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall:
Coordinate the birth-to-kindergarten services for children who are eligible under subsection (6) and the programmatic, administrative, and fiscal standards under this section for all public providers of school readiness programs.
Focus on improving the educational quality of all program providers participating in publicly funded school readiness programs.
The Governor shall designate the Agency for Workforce Innovation as the lead agency for administration of the federal Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. parts 98 and 99, and the agency shall comply with the lead agency responsibilities under federal law.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall:
Be responsible for the prudent use of all public and private funds in accordance with all legal and contractual requirements.
Provide final approval and every 2 years review early learning coalitions and school readiness plans.
Establish a unified approach to the state’s efforts toward enhancement of school readiness. In support of this effort, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt specific system support services that address the state’s school readiness programs. An early learning coalition shall amend its school readiness plan to conform to the specific system support services adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. System support services shall include, but are not limited to:
Child care resource and referral services;
Child performance standards;
Child screening and assessment;
Developmentally appropriate curricula;
Health and safety requirements;
Statewide data system requirements; and
Rating and improvement systems.
Safeguard the effective use of federal, state, local, and private resources to achieve the highest possible level of school readiness for the children in this state.
Adopt a rule establishing criteria for the expenditure of funds designated for the purpose of funding activities to improve the quality of child care within the state in accordance with s. 658G of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act.
Provide technical assistance to early learning coalitions in a manner determined by the Agency for Workforce Innovation based upon information obtained by the agency from various sources, including, but not limited to, public input, government reports, private interest group reports, agency monitoring visits, and coalition requests for service.
In cooperation with the Department of Education and early learning coalitions, coordinate with the Child Care Services Program Office of the Department of Children and Family Services to minimize duplicating interagency activities, health and safety monitoring, and acquiring and composing data pertaining to child care training and credentialing.
Develop and adopt performance standards and outcome measures for school readiness programs. The performance standards must address the age-appropriate progress of children in the development of school readiness skills. The performance standards for children from birth to 5 years of age in school readiness programs must be integrated with the performance standards adopted by the Department of Education for children in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program under s. 1002.67.
Adopt a standard contract that must be used by the coalitions when contracting with school readiness providers.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation may adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer the provisions of law conferring duties upon the agency, including, but not limited to, rules governing the administration of system support services of school readiness programs, the collection of data, the approval of early learning coalitions and school readiness plans, the provision of a method whereby an early learning coalition may serve two or more counties, the award of incentives to early learning coalitions, child performance standards, child outcome measures, the issuance of waivers, and the implementation of the state’s Child Care and Development Fund Plan as approved by the federal Administration for Children and Families.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall have all powers necessary to administer this section, including, but not limited to, the power to receive and accept grants, loans, or advances of funds from any public or private agency and to receive and accept from any source contributions of money, property, labor, or any other thing of value, to be held, used, and applied for purposes of this section.
Except as provided by law, the Agency for Workforce Innovation may not impose requirements on a child care or early childhood education provider that does not deliver services under the school readiness programs or receive state or federal funds under this section.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall have a budget for school readiness programs, which shall be financed through an annual appropriation made for purposes of this section in the General Appropriations Act.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall coordinate the efforts toward school readiness in this state and provide independent policy analyses, data analyses, and recommendations to the Governor, the State Board of Education, and the Legislature.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall require that school readiness programs, at a minimum, enhance the age-appropriate progress of each child in attaining the performance standards adopted under subparagraph (d)8. and in the development of the following school readiness skills:
Compliance with rules, limitations, and routines.
Ability to perform tasks.
Interactions with adults.
Interactions with peers.
Ability to cope with challenges.
Ability to express the child’s needs.
Verbal communication skills.
Following of verbal directions.
Demonstration of curiosity, persistence, and exploratory behavior.
Interest in books and other printed materials.
Paying attention to stories.
Participation in art and music activities.
Ability to identify colors, geometric shapes, letters of the alphabet, numbers, and spatial and temporal relationships.
Within 30 days after enrollment in the school readiness program, the early learning coalition must ensure that the program provider obtains information regarding the child’s immunizations, physical development, and other health requirements as necessary, including appropriate vision and hearing screening and examinations. For a program provider licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services, the provider’s compliance with s. 402.305(9), as verified pursuant to s. 402.311, shall satisfy this requirement.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall conduct studies and planning activities related to the overall improvement and effectiveness of the outcome measures adopted by the agency for school readiness programs and the specific system support services to address the state’s school readiness programs adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation in accordance with subparagraph (d)3.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall monitor and evaluate the performance of each early learning coalition in administering the school readiness program, implementing the coalition’s school readiness plan, and administering the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. These monitoring and performance evaluations must include, at a minimum, onsite monitoring of each coalition’s finances, management, operations, and programs.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall submit an annual report of its activities conducted under this section to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the minority leaders of both houses of the Legislature. In addition, the Agency for Workforce Innovation’s reports and recommendations shall be made available to the Florida Early Learning Advisory Council and other appropriate state agencies and entities. The annual report must provide an analysis of school readiness activities across the state, including the number of children who were served in the programs.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall work with the early learning coalitions to ensure availability of training and support for parental involvement in children’s early education and to provide family literacy activities and services.
CREATION OF EARLY LEARNING COALITIONS.—
Early learning coalitions.—
Each early learning coalition shall maintain direct enhancement services at the local level and ensure access to such services in all 67 counties.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish the minimum number of children to be served by each early learning coalition through the coalition’s school readiness program. The Agency for Workforce Innovation may only approve school readiness plans in accordance with this minimum number. The minimum number must be uniform for every early learning coalition and must:
Permit 31 or fewer coalitions to be established; and
Require each coalition to serve at least 2,000 children based upon the average number of all children served per month through the coalition’s school readiness program during the previous 12 months.
If an early learning coalition would serve fewer children than the minimum number established under subparagraph 2., the coalition must merge with another county to form a multicounty coalition. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt procedures for merging early learning coalitions, including procedures for the consolidation of merging coalitions, and for the early termination of the terms of coalition members which are necessary to accomplish the mergers. However, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall grant a waiver to an early learning coalition to serve fewer children than the minimum number established under subparagraph 2., if:
The Agency for Workforce Innovation has determined during the most recent review of the coalition’s school readiness plan, or through monitoring and performance evaluations conducted under paragraph (4)(l), that the coalition has substantially implemented its plan;
The coalition demonstrates to the Agency for Workforce Innovation the coalition’s ability to effectively and efficiently implement the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program; and
The coalition demonstrates to the Agency for Workforce Innovation that the coalition can perform its duties in accordance with law.
If an early learning coalition fails or refuses to merge as required by this subparagraph, the Agency for Workforce Innovation may dissolve the coalition and temporarily contract with a qualified entity to continue school readiness and prekindergarten services in the coalition’s county or multicounty region until the agency reestablishes the coalition and a new school readiness plan is approved by the agency.
Each early learning coalition shall be composed of at least 15 members but not more than 30 members. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt standards establishing within this range the minimum and maximum number of members that may be appointed to an early learning coalition and procedures for identifying which members have voting privileges under subparagraph 6. These standards must include variations for a coalition serving a multicounty region. Each early learning coalition must comply with these standards.
The Governor shall appoint the chair and two other members of each early learning coalition, who must each meet the same qualifications as private sector business members appointed by the coalition under subparagraph 7.
Each early learning coalition must include the following member positions; however, in a multicounty coalition, each ex officio member position may be filled by multiple nonvoting members but no more than one voting member shall be seated per member position. If an early learning coalition has more than one member representing the same entity, only one of such members may serve as a voting member:
A Department of Children and Family Services circuit administrator or his or her designee who is authorized to make decisions on behalf of the department.
A district superintendent of schools or his or her designee who is authorized to make decisions on behalf of the district.
A regional workforce board executive director or his or her designee.
A county health department director or his or her designee.
A children’s services council or juvenile welfare board chair or executive director, if applicable.
An agency head of a local licensing agency as defined in s. 402.302, where applicable.
A president of a community college or his or her designee.
One member appointed by a board of county commissioners or the governing board of a municipality.
A central agency administrator, where applicable.
A Head Start director.
A representative of private for-profit child care providers, including private for-profit family day care homes.
A representative of faith-based child care providers.
A representative of programs for children with disabilities under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Including the members appointed by the Governor under subparagraph 5., more than one-third of the members of each early learning coalition must be private sector business members who do not have, and none of whose relatives as defined in s. 112.3143 has, a substantial financial interest in the design or delivery of the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program created under part V of chapter 1002 or the coalition’s school readiness program. To meet this requirement an early learning coalition must appoint additional members. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish criteria for appointing private sector business members. These criteria must include standards for determining whether a member or relative has a substantial financial interest in the design or delivery of the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program or the coalition’s school readiness program.
A majority of the voting membership of an early learning coalition constitutes a quorum required to conduct the business of the coalition. An early learning coalition board may use any method of telecommunications to conduct meetings, including establishing a quorum through telecommunications, provided that the public is given proper notice of a telecommunications meeting and reasonable access to observe and, when appropriate, participate.
A voting member of an early learning coalition may not appoint a designee to act in his or her place, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. A voting member may send a representative to coalition meetings, but that representative does not have voting privileges. When a district administrator for the Department of Children and Family Services appoints a designee to an early learning coalition, the designee is the voting member of the coalition, and any individual attending in the designee’s place, including the district administrator, does not have voting privileges.
Each member of an early learning coalition is subject to ss. 112.313, 112.3135, and 112.3143. For purposes of s. 112.3143(3)(a), each voting member is a local public officer who must abstain from voting when a voting conflict exists.
For purposes of tort liability, each member or employee of an early learning coalition shall be governed by s. 768.28.
An early learning coalition serving a multicounty region must include representation from each county.
Each early learning coalition shall establish terms for all appointed members of the coalition. The terms must be staggered and must be a uniform length that does not exceed 4 years per term. Coalition chairs shall be appointed for 4 years in conjunction with their membership on the Early Learning Advisory Council under s. 20.052. Appointed members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. When a vacancy occurs in an appointed position, the coalition must advertise the vacancy.
Limitation.—Except as provided by law, the early learning coalitions may not impose requirements on a child care or early childhood education provider that does not deliver services under the school readiness programs or receive state, federal, required maintenance of effort, or matching funds under this section.
The school readiness program must meet the following expectations:
The program must, at a minimum, enhance the age-appropriate progress of each child in attaining the performance standards and outcome measures adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
The program must provide extended-day and extended-year services to the maximum extent possible without compromising the quality of the program to meet the needs of parents who work.
The program must provide a coordinated professional development system that supports the achievement and maintenance of core competencies by school readiness instructors in helping children attain the performance standards and outcome measures adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
There must be expanded access to community services and resources for families to help achieve economic self-sufficiency.
There must be a single point of entry and unified waiting list. As used in this sub-subparagraph, the term “single point of entry” means an integrated information system that allows a parent to enroll his or her child in the school readiness program at various locations throughout a county, that may allow a parent to enroll his or her child by telephone or through an Internet website, and that uses a unified waiting list to track eligible children waiting for enrollment in the school readiness program. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish through technology a single statewide information system that each coalition must use for the purposes of managing the single point of entry, tracking children’s progress, coordinating services among stakeholders, determining eligibility, tracking child attendance, and streamlining administrative processes for providers and early learning coalitions.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation must consider the access of eligible children to the school readiness program, as demonstrated in part by waiting lists, before approving a proposed increase in payment rates submitted by an early learning coalition. In addition, early learning coalitions shall use school readiness funds made available due to enrollment shifts from school readiness programs to the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program for increasing the number of children served in school readiness programs before increasing payment rates.
The program must meet all state licensing guidelines, where applicable.
The program must ensure that minimum standards for child discipline practices are age-appropriate. Such standards must provide that children not be subjected to discipline that is severe, humiliating, or frightening or discipline that is associated with food, rest, or toileting. Spanking or any other form of physical punishment is prohibited.
Each early learning coalition must implement a comprehensive program of school readiness services in accordance with the rules adopted by the agency which enhance the cognitive, social, and physical development of children to achieve the performance standards and outcome measures. At a minimum, these programs must contain the following system support service elements:
Developmentally appropriate curriculum designed to enhance the age-appropriate progress of children in attaining the performance standards adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation under subparagraph (4)(d)8.
A character development program to develop basic values.
An age-appropriate screening of each child’s development.
An age-appropriate assessment administered to children when they enter a program and an age-appropriate assessment administered to children when they leave the program.
An appropriate staff-to-children ratio, pursuant to s. 402.305(4) or s. 402.302(7) or (8), as applicable, and as verified pursuant to s. 402.311.
A healthy and safe environment pursuant to s. 401.305(5), (6), and (7), as applicable, and as verified pursuant to s. 402.311.
A resource and referral network established under s. 411.0101 to assist parents in making an informed choice and a regional Warm-Line under s. 411.01015.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation, the Department of Education, and early learning coalitions shall coordinate with the Child Care Services Program Office of the Department of Children and Family Services to minimize duplicating interagency activities pertaining to acquiring and composing data for child care training and credentialing.
An early learning coalition may not implement the school readiness program until the coalition’s school readiness plan is approved by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Each early learning coalition shall coordinate with one another to implement a comprehensive program of school readiness services which enhances the cognitive, social, physical, and moral character of the children to achieve the performance standards and outcome measures and which helps families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Such program must contain, at a minimum, the following elements:
Implement the school readiness program to meet the requirements of this section and the system support services, performance standards, and outcome measures adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Demonstrate how the program will ensure that each child from birth through 5 years of age in a publicly funded school readiness program receives scheduled activities and instruction designed to enhance the age-appropriate progress of the children in attaining the performance standards adopted by the agency under subparagraph (4)(d)8.
Ensure that the coalition has solicited and considered comments regarding the proposed school readiness plan from the local community.
Before implementing the school readiness program, the early learning coalition must submit the plan to the agency for approval. The agency may approve the plan, reject the plan, or approve the plan with conditions. The agency shall review school readiness plans at least every 2 years.
If the Agency for Workforce Innovation determines during the review of school readiness plans, or through monitoring and performance evaluations conducted under paragraph (4)(l), that an early learning coalition has not substantially implemented its plan, has not substantially met the performance standards and outcome measures adopted by the agency, or has not effectively administered the school readiness program or Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, the agency may dissolve the coalition and temporarily contract with a qualified entity to continue school readiness and prekindergarten services in the coalition’s county or multicounty region until the agency reestablishes the coalition and a new school readiness plan is approved in accordance with the rules adopted by the agency.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt rules establishing criteria for the approval of school readiness plans. The criteria must be consistent with the system support services, performance standards, and outcome measures adopted by the agency and must require each approved plan to include the following minimum standards for the school readiness program:
A community plan that addresses the needs of all children and providers within the coalition’s county or multicounty region.
A sliding fee scale establishing a copayment for parents based upon their ability to pay, which is the same for all program providers.
A choice of settings and locations in licensed, registered, religious-exempt, or school-based programs to be provided to parents.
Specific eligibility priorities for children in accordance with subsection (6).
Performance standards and outcome measures adopted by the agency.
Payment rates adopted by the early learning coalitions and approved by the agency. Payment rates may not have the effect of limiting parental choice or creating standards or levels of services that have not been expressly established by the Legislature, unless the creation of such standards or levels of service, which must be uniform throughout the state, has been approved by the Federal Government and result in the state being eligible to receive additional federal funds available for early learning on a statewide basis.
Direct enhancement services for families and children. System support and direct enhancement services shall be in addition to payments for the placement of children in school readiness programs. Direct enhancement services for families may include parent training and involvement activities and strategies to meet the needs of unique populations and local eligibility priorities. Enhancement services for children may include provider supports and professional development approved in the plan by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
The business organization of the early learning coalition, which must include the coalition’s articles of incorporation and bylaws if the coalition is organized as a corporation. If the coalition is not organized as a corporation or other business entity, the plan must include the contract with a fiscal agent. An early learning coalition may contract with other coalitions to achieve efficiency in multicounty services, and these contracts may be part of the coalition’s school readiness plan.
The implementation of locally developed quality programs in accordance with the requirements adopted by the agency under subparagraph (4)(d)5.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation may request the Governor to apply for a waiver to allow the coalition to administer the Head Start Program to accomplish the purposes of the school readiness program.
Persons with an early childhood teaching certificate may provide support and supervision to other staff in the school readiness program.
An early learning coalition may not implement its school readiness plan until it submits the plan to and receives approval from the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Once the plan is approved, the plan and the services provided under the plan shall be controlled by the early learning coalition. The plan shall be reviewed and revised as necessary, but at least biennially. An early learning coalition may not implement the revisions until the coalition submits the revised plan to and receives approval from the agency. If the agency rejects a revised plan, the coalition must continue to operate under its prior approved plan.
Section 125.901(2)(a)3. does not apply to school readiness programs. The Agency for Workforce Innovation may apply to the Governor and Cabinet for a waiver of, and the Governor and Cabinet may waive, any of the provisions of ss. 411.223 and 1003.54, if the waiver is necessary for implementation of school readiness programs.
Two or more early learning coalitions may join for purposes of planning and implementing a school readiness program.
Requests for proposals; payment schedule.—
Each early learning coalition must comply with the procurement and expenditure procedures adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, including, but not limited to, applying the procurement and expenditure procedures required by federal law for the expenditure of federal funds.
Each early learning coalition shall adopt a payment schedule that encompasses all programs funded under this section. The payment schedule must take into consideration the prevailing market rate, must include the projected number of children to be served, and must be submitted for approval by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Informal child care arrangements shall be reimbursed at not more than 50 percent of the rate adopted for a family day care home.
Evaluation and annual report.—Each early learning coalition shall conduct an evaluation of its implementation of the school readiness program, including system support services, performance standards, and outcome measures, and shall provide an annual report and fiscal statement to the Agency for Workforce Innovation. This report must also include an evaluation of the effectiveness of its direct enhancement services and conform to the content and format specifications adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. The Agency for Workforce Innovation must include an analysis of the early learning coalitions’ reports in the agency’s annual report.
PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.—The school readiness program is established for children from birth to the beginning of the school year for which a child is eligible for admission to kindergarten in a public school under s. 1003.21(1)(a)2. or who are eligible for any federal subsidized child care program. Each early learning coalition shall give priority for participation in the school readiness program as follows:
Priority shall be given first to a child from a family in which there is an adult receiving temporary cash assistance who is subject to federal work requirements.
Priority shall be given next to a child who is eligible for a school readiness program but who has not yet entered school, who is served by the Family Safety Program Office of the Department of Children and Family Services or a community-based lead agency under chapter 39 or chapter 409, and for whom child care is needed to minimize risk of further abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Subsequent priority shall be given to a child who meets one or more of the following criteria:
A child who is younger than the age of kindergarten eligibility and:
Is at risk of welfare dependency, including an economically disadvantaged child, a child of a participant in the welfare transition program, a child of a migratory agricultural worker, or a child of a teen parent.
Is a member of a working family that is economically disadvantaged.
For whom financial assistance is provided through the Relative Caregiver Program under s. 39.5085.
A 3-year-old child or 4-year-old child who may not be economically disadvantaged but who has a disability; has been served in a specific part-time exceptional education program or a combination of part-time exceptional education programs with required special services, aids, or equipment; and was previously reported for funding part time under the Florida Education Finance Program as an exceptional student.
An economically disadvantaged child, a child with a disability, or a child at risk of future school failure, from birth to 4 years of age, who is served at home through a home visitor program and an intensive parent education program.
A child who meets federal and state eligibility requirements for the migrant preschool program but who is not economically disadvantaged.
As used in this paragraph, the term “economically disadvantaged” means having a family income that does not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Notwithstanding any change in a family’s economic status, but subject to additional family contributions in accordance with the sliding fee scale, a child who meets the eligibility requirements upon initial registration for the program remains eligible until the beginning of the school year for which the child is eligible for admission to kindergarten in a public school under s. 1003.21(1)(a)2.
Parental choice of child care providers shall be established, to the maximum extent practicable, in accordance with 45 C.F.R. s. 98.30.
As used in this subsection, the term “payment certificate” means a child care certificate as defined in 45 C.F.R. s. 98.2.
The school readiness program shall, in accordance with 45 C.F.R. s. 98.30, provide parental choice through a payment certificate that ensures, to the maximum extent possible, flexibility in the school readiness program and payment arrangements. The payment certificate must bear the names of the beneficiary and the program provider and, when redeemed, must bear the signatures of both the beneficiary and an authorized representative of the provider.
If it is determined that a provider has given any cash to the beneficiary in return for receiving a payment certificate, the early learning coalition or its fiscal agent shall refer the matter to the Department of Financial Services pursuant to s. 414.411 for investigation.
The office of the Chief Financial Officer shall establish an electronic transfer system for the disbursement of funds in accordance with this subsection. Each early learning coalition shall fully implement the electronic funds transfer system within 2 years after approval of the coalition’s school readiness plan, unless a waiver is obtained from the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
STANDARDS; OUTCOME MEASURES.—A program provider participating in the school readiness program must meet the performance standards and outcome measures adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
FUNDING; SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM.—
It is the intent of this section to establish an integrated and quality seamless service delivery system for all publicly funded early childhood education and child care programs operating in this state.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall administer school readiness funds, plans, and policies and shall prepare and submit a unified budget request for the school readiness system in accordance with chapter 216.
All instructions to early learning coalitions for administering this section shall emanate from the Agency for Workforce Innovation in accordance with the policies of the Legislature.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation, subject to legislative notice and review under s. 216.177, shall establish a formula for the allocation of all state and federal school readiness funds provided for children participating in the school readiness program, whether served by a public or private provider, based upon equity for each county. The allocation formula must be submitted to the Governor, the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee or its successor, and the chair of the House of Representatives Fiscal Council or its successor no later than January 1 of each year. If the Legislature specifies changes to the allocation formula, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall allocate funds as specified in the General Appropriations Act.
All state, federal, and required local maintenance-of-effort or matching funds provided to an early learning coalition for purposes of this section shall be used for implementation of its approved school readiness plan, including the hiring of staff to effectively operate the coalition’s school readiness program. As part of plan approval and periodic plan review, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall require that administrative costs be kept to the minimum necessary for efficient and effective administration of the school readiness plan, but total administrative expenditures must not exceed 5 percent unless specifically waived by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall annually report to the Legislature any problems relating to administrative costs.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall annually distribute, to a maximum extent practicable, all eligible funds provided under this section as block grants to the early learning coalitions in accordance with the terms and conditions specified by the agency.
State funds appropriated for the school readiness program may not be used for the construction of new facilities or the purchase of buses.
All cost savings and all revenues received through a mandatory sliding fee scale shall be used to help fund each early learning coalition’s school readiness program.
CONFLICTING PROVISIONS.—If a conflict exists between this section and federal requirements, the federal requirements control.
SUBSTITUTE INSTRUCTORS.—Each school district shall make a list of all individuals currently eligible to act as a substitute teacher within the county pursuant to the rules adopted by the school district pursuant to s. 1012.35 available to an early learning coalition serving students within the school district. Child care facilities, as defined by s. 402.302, may employ individuals listed as substitute instructors for the purpose of offering the school readiness program, the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, and all other legally operating child care programs.
s. 1, ch. 99-357; s. 65, ch. 2000-139; s. 1, ch. 2000-149; s. 97, ch. 2000-165; s. 12, ch. 2000-337; s. 55, ch. 2001-62; s. 13, ch. 2001-89; s. 20, ch. 2001-170; s. 114, ch. 2001-266; s. 4, ch. 2002-38; s. 998, ch. 2002-387; ss. 59, 79, ch. 2002-402; s. 48, ch. 2003-1; s. 453, ch. 2003-261; s. 3, ch. 2003-292; s. 74, ch. 2003-399; s. 49, ch. 2004-269; s. 2, ch. 2004-484; s. 2, ch. 2005-56; s. 2, ch. 2006-17; ss. 40, 41, 53, ch. 2006-26; s. 2, ch. 2008-196; s. 195, ch. 2010-102; s. 27, ch. 2010-114; s. 8, ch. 2010-144; s. 20, ch. 2010-161; s. 17, ch. 2010-210.
Section 58, ch. 2010-114, provides that “[t]he changes made by this act are intended to be prospective in nature. It is not intended that persons who are employed or licensed on the effective date of this act be rescreened until such time as they are otherwise required to be rescreened pursuant to law, at which time they must meet the requirements for screening as set forth in this act.”
Child care and early childhood resource and referral.—
As a part of the school readiness programs, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish a statewide child care resource and referral network that is unbiased and provides referrals to families for child care. Preference shall be given to using the already established early learning coalitions as the child care resource and referral agencies. If an early learning coalition cannot comply with the requirements to offer the resource information component or does not want to offer that service, the early learning coalition shall select the resource and referral agency for its county or multicounty region based upon a request for proposal pursuant to s. 411.01(5)(e)1.
At least one child care resource and referral agency must be established in each early learning coalition’s county or multicounty region. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt rules regarding accessibility of child care resource and referral services offered through child care resource and referral agencies in each county or multicounty region which include, at a minimum, required hours of operation, methods by which parents may request services, and child care resource and referral staff training requirements.
Child care resource and referral agencies shall provide the following services:
Identification of existing public and private child care and early childhood education services, including child care services by public and private employers, and the development of a resource file of those services through the single statewide information system developed by the Agency for Workforce Innovation under s. 411.01(5)(c)1.e. These services may include family day care, public and private child care programs, the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, Head Start, the school readiness program, special education programs for prekindergarten children with disabilities, services for children with developmental disabilities, full-time and part-time programs, before-school and after-school programs, vacation care programs, parent education, the Temporary Cash Assistance Program, and related family support services. The resource file shall include, but not be limited to:
Type of program.
Hours of service.
Ages of children served.
Number of children served.
Significant program information.
Fees and eligibility for services.
Availability of transportation.
The establishment of a referral process that responds to parental need for information and that is provided with full recognition of the confidentiality rights of parents. The resource and referral network shall make referrals to legally operating child care facilities. Referrals may not be made to a child care facility that is operating illegally.
Maintenance of ongoing documentation of requests for service tabulated through the internal referral process through the single statewide information system. The following documentation of requests for service shall be maintained by the child care resource and referral network:
Number of calls and contacts to the child care resource information and referral network component by type of service requested.
Ages of children for whom service was requested.
Time category of child care requests for each child.
Special time category, such as nights, weekends, and swing shift.
Reason that the child care is needed.
Name of the employer and primary focus of the business.
Provision of technical assistance to existing and potential providers of child care services. This assistance may include:
Information on initiating new child care services, zoning, and program and budget development and assistance in finding such information from other sources.
Information and resources which help existing child care services providers to maximize their ability to serve children and parents in their community.
Information and incentives that may help existing or planned child care services offered by public or private employers seeking to maximize their ability to serve the children of their working parent employees in their community, through contractual or other funding arrangements with businesses.
Assistance to families and employers in applying for various sources of subsidy including, but not limited to, the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, the school readiness program, Head Start, Project Independence, private scholarships, and the federal child and dependent care tax credit.
Assistance in negotiating discounts or other special arrangements with child care providers.
Assistance to families in identifying summer recreation camp and summer day camp programs, evaluating the health and safety qualities of summer recreation camp and summer day camp programs, and evaluating the health and safety qualities of summer camp programs. Contingent upon specific appropriation, a checklist of important health and safety qualities that parents can use to choose their summer camp programs shall be developed and distributed in a manner that will reach parents interested in such programs for their children.
A child care facility licensed under s. 402.305 and licensed and registered family day care homes must provide the statewide child care and resource and referral network with the following information annually:
Type of program.
Hours of service.
Ages of children served.
Fees and eligibility for services.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt any rules necessary for the implementation and administration of this section.
s. 5, ch. 89-379; s. 6, ch. 91-300; s. 71, ch. 96-175; s. 143, ch. 99-8; s. 13, ch. 2000-253; s. 3, ch. 2008-196; s. 13, ch. 2010-209; s. 18, ch. 2010-210.
Former s. 402.27.
Prevailing market rate schedule.—
As used in this section, the term:
“Market rate” means the price that a child care provider charges for daily, weekly, or monthly child care services.
“Prevailing market rate” means the annually determined 75th percentile of a reasonable frequency distribution of the market rate in a predetermined geographic market at which child care providers charge a person for child care services.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish procedures for the adoption of a prevailing market rate schedule. The schedule must include, at a minimum, county-by-county rates:
At the prevailing market rate, plus the maximum rate, for child care providers that hold a Gold Seal Quality Care designation under s. 402.281.
At the prevailing market rate for child care providers that do not hold a Gold Seal Quality Care designation.
The prevailing market rate schedule, at a minimum, must:
Differentiate rates by type, including, but not limited to, a child care provider that holds a Gold Seal Quality Care designation under s. 402.281, a child care facility licensed under s. 402.305, a public or nonpublic school exempt from licensure under s. 402.3025, a faith-based child care facility exempt from licensure under s. 402.316 that does not hold a Gold Seal Quality Care designation, a large family child care home licensed under s. 402.3131, a family day care home licensed or registered under s. 402.313, or an after-school program that is not defined as child care under rules adopted pursuant to s. 402.3045.
Differentiate rates by the type of child care services provided for children with special needs or risk categories, infants, toddlers, preschool-age children, and school-age children.
Differentiate rates between full-time and part-time child care services.
Consider discounted rates for child care services for multiple children in a single family.
The prevailing market rate schedule must be based exclusively on the prices charged for child care services. If a conflict exists between this subsection and federal requirements, the federal requirements shall control.
The prevailing market rate shall be considered by an early learning coalition in the adoption of a payment schedule in accordance with s. 411.01(5)(e)2.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation may contract with one or more qualified entities to administer this section and provide support and technical assistance for child care providers.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 for establishing procedures for the collection of child care providers’ market rate, the calculation of a reasonable frequency distribution of the market rate, and the publication of a prevailing market rate schedule.
s. 4, ch. 91-300; s. 78, ch. 96-175; s. 11, ch. 99-304; s. 33, ch. 2004-357; s. 10, ch. 2010-210.
Former s. 402.3051.
School readiness transportation services.—
The Agency for Workforce Innovation, pursuant to chapter 427, may authorize an early learning coalition to establish school readiness transportation services for children at risk of abuse or neglect participating in the school readiness program. The early learning coalitions may contract for the provision of transportation services as required by this section.
The transportation servicers may only provide transportation to each child participating in the school readiness program to the extent that such transportation is necessary to provide child care opportunities that otherwise would not be available to a child whose home is more than a reasonable walking distance from the nearest child care facility or family day care home.
s. 40, ch. 90-306; s. 13, ch. 2010-210.
Former s. 402.3145.
Consultation to child care centers and family day care homes regarding health, developmental, disability, and special needs issues.—
Contingent upon specific appropriations, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall administer a statewide toll-free Warm-Line for the purpose of providing assistance and consultation to child care centers and family day care homes regarding health, developmental, disability, and special needs issues of the children they are serving, particularly children with disabilities and other special needs.
The purpose of the Warm-Line is to provide advice to child care personnel concerning strategies, curriculum, and environmental adaptations that allow a child with a disability or special need to derive maximum benefit from child care services.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall annually inform child care centers and family day care homes of the availability of this service through the child care resource and referral network under s. 411.0101.
Contingent upon specific appropriations, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall expand, or contract for the expansion of, the Warm-Line to maintain at least one Warm-Line site in each early learning coalition service area.
Each regional Warm-Line shall provide assistance and consultation to child care centers and family day care homes regarding health, developmental, disability, and special needs issues of the children they are serving, particularly children with disabilities and other special needs. Regional Warm-Line staff shall provide onsite technical assistance, when requested, to assist child care centers and family day care homes with inquiries relative to the strategies, curriculum, and environmental adaptations the child care centers and family day care homes may need as they serve children with disabilities and other special needs.
s. 13, ch. 99-304; s. 9, ch. 2010-210.
Former s. 402.3018.
Child Care Executive Partnership Act; findings and intent; grant; limitation; rules.—
This section may be cited as the “Child Care Executive Partnership Act.”
The Legislature finds that when private employers provide onsite child care or provide other child care benefits, they benefit by improved recruitment and higher retention rates for employees, lower absenteeism, and improved employee morale. The Legislature also finds that there are many ways in which private employers can provide child care assistance to employees: information and referral, vouchering, employer contribution to child care programs, and onsite care. Private employers can offer child care as part of a menu of employee benefits. The Legislature recognizes that flexible compensation programs providing a child care option are beneficial to the private employer through increased productivity, to the private employee in knowing that his or her children are being cared for in a safe and nurturing environment, and to the state in more dollars being available for purchasing power and investment.
It is the intent of the Legislature to promote public/private partnerships to ensure that the children of the state be provided safe and enriching child care at any time, but especially while parents work to remain self-sufficient. It is the intent of the Legislature that private employers be encouraged to participate in the future of this state by providing employee child care benefits. Further, it is the intent of the Legislature to encourage private employers to explore innovative ways to assist employees to obtain quality child care.
The Legislature further recognizes that many parents need assistance in paying the full costs of quality child care. The public and private sectors, by working in partnership, can promote and improve access to quality child care and early education for children of working families who need it. Therefore, a more formal mechanism is necessary to stimulate the establishment of public-private partnerships. It is the intent of the Legislature to expand the availability of scholarship options for working families by providing incentives for employers to contribute to meeting the needs of their employees’ families through matching public dollars available for child care.
There is created a body politic and corporate known as the Child Care Executive Partnership which shall establish and govern the Child Care Executive Partnership Program. The purpose of the Child Care Executive Partnership Program is to utilize state and federal funds as incentives for matching local funds derived from local governments, employers, charitable foundations, and other sources so that Florida communities may create local flexible partnerships with employers. The Child Care Executive Partnership Program funds shall be used at the discretion of local communities to meet the needs of working parents. A child care purchasing pool shall be developed with the state, federal, and local funds to provide subsidies to low-income working parents whose family income does not exceed the allowable income for any federally subsidized child care program with a dollar-for-dollar match from employers, local government, and other matching contributions. The funds used from the child care purchasing pool must be used to supplement or extend the use of existing public or private funds.
The Child Care Executive Partnership, staffed by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, shall consist of a representative of the Executive Office of the Governor and nine members of the corporate or child care community, appointed by the Governor.
Members shall serve for a period of 4 years, except that the representative of the Executive Office of the Governor shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
The Child Care Executive Partnership shall be chaired by a member chosen by a majority vote and shall meet at least quarterly and at other times upon the call of the chair. The Child Care Executive Partnership may use any method of telecommunications to conduct meetings, including establishing a quorum through telecommunications, only if the public is given proper notice of a telecommunications meeting and reasonable access to observe and, when appropriate, participate.
Members shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses in accordance with s. 112.061.
The Child Care Executive Partnership shall have all the powers and authority, not explicitly prohibited by statute, necessary to carry out and effectuate the purposes of this section, as well as the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the partnership, including, but not limited to, the following:
Assisting in the formulation and coordination of the state’s child care policy.
Adopting an official seal.
Soliciting, accepting, receiving, investing, and expending funds from public or private sources.
Contracting with public or private entities as necessary.
Approving an annual budget.
Carrying forward any unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years.
Providing a report to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate, on or before December 1 of each year.
The Legislature shall annually determine the amount of state or federal low-income child care moneys which shall be used to create Child Care Executive Partnership Program child care purchasing pools in counties chosen by the Child Care Executive Partnership, provided that at least two of the counties have populations of no more than 300,000. The Legislature shall annually review the effectiveness of the child care purchasing pool program and reevaluate the percentage of additional state or federal funds, if any, that can be used for the program’s expansion.
To ensure a seamless service delivery and ease of access for families, an early learning coalition or the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall administer the child care purchasing pool funds.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation, in conjunction with the Child Care Executive Partnership, shall develop procedures for disbursement of funds through the child care purchasing pools. In order to be considered for funding, an early learning coalition or the Agency for Workforce Innovation must commit to:
Matching the state purchasing pool funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis; and
Expending only those public funds which are matched by employers, local government, and other matching contributors who contribute to the purchasing pool. Parents shall also pay a fee, which may not be less than the amount identified in the early learning coalition’s school readiness program sliding fee scale.
Each early learning coalition shall establish a community child care task force for each child care purchasing pool. The task force must be composed of employers, parents, private child care providers, and one representative from the local children’s services council, if one exists in the area of the purchasing pool. The early learning coalition is expected to recruit the task force members from existing child care councils, commissions, or task forces already operating in the area of a purchasing pool. A majority of the task force shall consist of employers.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall adopt any rules necessary for the implementation and administration of this section.
ss. 4, 5, ch. 88-337; s. 43, ch. 90-306; s. 85, ch. 96-175; s. 195, ch. 97-101; s. 3, ch. 98-165; s. 20, ch. 2000-253; s. 12, ch. 2001-89; s. 4, ch. 2008-196; s. 130, ch. 2010-102; s. 19, ch. 2010-210.
As amended by s. 130, ch. 2010-102. For a description of multiple acts in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, “Statutory Construction.” Paragraph (5)(d) was also amended by s. 19, ch. 2010-210, and that version reads:
(d) Each early learning coalition board shall develop a plan for the use of child care purchasing pool funds. The plan must show how many children will be served by the purchasing pool, how many will be new to receiving child care services, and how the early learning coalition intends to attract new employers and their employees to the program.
Former s. 409.178.
Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) scholarship program.—
The Legislature finds that the level of early child care teacher education and training is a key predictor for determining program quality. The Legislature also finds that low wages for child care workers prevent many from obtaining increased training and education and contribute to high turnover rates. The Legislature therefore intends to help fund a program which links teacher training and education to compensation and commitment to the field of early childhood education.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation may contract for the administration of the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) scholarship program, which provides educational scholarships to caregivers and administrators of early childhood programs, family day care homes, and large family child care homes.
The agency shall adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 as necessary to administer this section.
s. 15, ch. 2000-253; ss. 55, 79, ch. 2002-402; s. 73, ch. 2003-399; s. 55, ch. 2004-269; s. 40, ch. 2005-71; s. 1, ch. 2006-17; ss. 37, 53, ch. 2006-26; s. 6, ch. 2006-91.
Former s. 402.3017.
Early Head Start collaboration grants.—
Contingent upon specific appropriations, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall establish a program to award collaboration grants to assist local agencies in securing Early Head Start programs through Early Head Start program federal grants. The collaboration grants shall provide the required matching funds for public and private nonprofit agencies that have been approved for Early Head Start program federal grants.
Public and private nonprofit agencies providing Early Head Start programs applying for collaborative grants must:
Ensure quality performance by meeting the requirements in the Head Start program performance standards and other applicable rules and regulations;
Ensure collaboration with other service providers at the local level; and
Ensure that a comprehensive array of health, nutritional, and other services are provided to the program’s pregnant women and very young children, and their families.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation may adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 as necessary for the award of collaboration grants to competing agencies and the administration of the collaboration grants program under this section.
s. 7, ch. 99-304; s. 8, ch. 2004-484; s. 109, ch. 2010-102; s. 8, ch. 2010-210.
Former s. 402.3016.
Early Learning Opportunities Act and Even Start Family Literacy Programs; lead agency.—
For purposes of administration of the Early Learning Opportunities Act and the Even Start Family Literacy Programs, pursuant to Pub. L. No. 106-554, the Agency for Workforce Innovation is designated as the lead agency and must comply with lead agency responsibilities pursuant to federal law.
s. 19, ch. 2001-170.
Infants and toddlers in state-funded education and care programs; brain development activities.—
Each state-funded education and care program for children from birth to 5 years of age must provide activities to foster brain development in infants and toddlers. A program must provide an environment that helps children attain the performance standards adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation under s. 411.01(4)(d)8. and must be rich in language and music and filled with objects of various colors, shapes, textures, and sizes to stimulate visual, tactile, auditory, and linguistic senses in the children and must include classical music and at least 30 minutes of reading to the children each day. A program may be offered through an existing early childhood program such as Healthy Start, the Title I program, the school readiness program, the Head Start program, or a private child care program. A program must provide training for the infants’ and toddlers’ parents including direct dialogue and interaction between teachers and parents demonstrating the urgency of brain development in the first year of a child’s life. Family day care centers are encouraged, but not required, to comply with this section.
s. 1, ch. 98-70; s. 5, ch. 2010-210.
Former s. 402.25.
Records of children in school readiness programs.—
The individual records of children enrolled in school readiness programs provided under s. 411.01, held by an early learning coalition or the Agency for Workforce Innovation, are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. For purposes of this section, records include assessment data, health data, records of teacher observations, and personal identifying information.
A parent, guardian, or individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian has the right to inspect and review the individual school readiness program record of his or her child and to obtain a copy of the record.
School readiness records may be released to:
The United States Secretary of Education, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Comptroller General of the United States for the purpose of federal audits.
Individuals or organizations conducting studies for institutions to develop, validate, or administer assessments or improve instruction.
Accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
Appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the child enrollee or other individuals.
The Auditor General in connection with his or her official functions.
A court of competent jurisdiction in compliance with an order of that court in accordance with a lawfully issued subpoena.
Parties to an interagency agreement among early learning coalitions, local governmental agencies, providers of school readiness programs, state agencies, and the Agency for Workforce Innovation for the purpose of implementing the school readiness program.
Agencies, organizations, or individuals that receive school readiness records in order to carry out their official functions must protect the data in a manner that does not permit the personal identification of a child enrolled in a school readiness program and his or her parents by persons other than those authorized to receive the records.
s. 3, ch. 2000-299; s. 9, ch. 2004-484; s. 1, ch. 2005-131.
Florida Prevention, Early Assistance, and Early Childhood Act; short title.—
This chapter may be cited as the “Florida Prevention, Early Assistance, and Early Childhood Act.”
s. 1, ch. 89-379.
As used in this chapter, the term:
“Assistance services” means those assessments, individualized therapies, and other medical, educational, and social services designed to enhance the environment for the high-risk or handicapped preschool child, in order to achieve optimum growth and development. Provision of such services may include monitoring and modifying the delivery of assistance services.
“Case management” means those activities aimed at assessing the needs of the high-risk child and his or her family; planning and linking the service system to the child and his or her family, based on child and family outcome objectives; coordinating and monitoring service delivery; and evaluating the effect of the service delivery system.
“Community-based local contractor” means any unit of county or local government, any for-profit or not-for-profit organization, or a school district.
“Developmental assistance” means individualized therapies and services needed to enhance both the high-risk child’s growth and development and family functioning.
“Discharge planning” means the modification of the written individual and family service plan at the time of discharge from the hospital, which plan identifies for the family of a high-risk or handicapped infant a prescription of needed medical treatments or medications, specialized evaluation needs, and necessary nonmedical and educational intervention services.
“Drug-exposed child” means any child from birth to 5 years of age for whom there is documented evidence that the mother used illicit drugs or was a substance abuser, or both, during pregnancy and the child exhibits:
Abnormal neurological patterns;
Abnormal behavior problems; or
Abnormal cognitive development.
“Early assistance” means any sustained and systematic effort designed to prevent or reduce the assessed level of health, educational, biological, environmental, or social risk for a high-risk child and his or her family.
“Handicapped child” means a preschool child who is developmentally disabled, mentally handicapped, speech impaired, language impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted, physically handicapped, health impaired, or emotionally handicapped; a preschool child who has a specific learning disability; or any other child who has been classified under rules of the State Board of Education as eligible for preschool special education services, with the exception of those who are classified solely as gifted.
“High-risk child” or “at-risk child” means a preschool child with one or more of the following characteristics:
The child is a victim or a sibling of a victim in a confirmed or indicated report of child abuse or neglect.
The child is a graduate of a perinatal intensive care unit.
The child’s mother is under 18 years of age, unless the mother received necessary comprehensive maternity care and the mother and child currently receive necessary support services.
The child has a developmental delay of one standard deviation below the mean in cognition, language, or physical development.
The child has survived a catastrophic infectious or traumatic illness known to be associated with developmental delay.
The child has survived an accident resulting in a developmental delay.
The child has a parent or guardian who is developmentally disabled, severely emotionally disturbed, drug or alcohol dependent, or incarcerated and who requires assistance in meeting the child’s developmental needs.
The child has no parent or guardian.
The child is drug exposed.
The child’s family’s income is at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level or the child’s family’s income level impairs the development of the child.
The child is a handicapped child as defined in subsection (8).
The child has been placed in residential care under the custody of the state through dependency proceedings pursuant to chapter 39.
The child is a member of a migrant farmworker family.
“Impact evaluation” means the provision of evaluation information to the department on the impact of the components of the childhood pregnancy prevention public education program and an assessment of the impact of the program on a child’s related sexual knowledge, attitudes, and risk-taking behavior.
“Individual and family service plan” means a written individualized plan describing the developmental status of the high-risk child and the therapies and services needed to enhance both the high-risk child’s growth and development and family functioning, and shall include the contents of the written individualized family service plan as defined in part H of Pub. L. No. 99-457.
“Infant” or “toddler” means any child from birth to 3 years of age.
“Interdisciplinary team” means a team that may include the physician, psychologist, educator, social worker, nursing staff, physical or occupational therapist, speech pathologist, parents, developmental intervention and parent support and training program director, case manager for the child and family, and others who are involved with the individual and family service plan.
“Parent support and training” means a range of services for families of high-risk or handicapped preschool children, including family counseling; financial planning; agency referral; development of parent-to-parent support groups; education relating to growth and development, developmental assistance, and objective measurable skills, including abuse avoidance skills; training of parents to advocate for their child; and bereavement counseling.
“Posthospital assistance services” means assessment, individual and family service planning, developmental assistance, counseling, parent education, and referrals which are delivered as needed in a home or nonhome setting, upon discharge, by a professional or paraprofessional trained for this purpose.
“Prenatal” means the time period from pregnancy to delivery.
“Preschool child” means a child from birth to 5 years of age, including a child who attains 5 years of age before September 1.
“Prevention” means any program, service, or sustained activity designed to eliminate or reduce high-risk conditions in pregnant women, to eliminate or ameliorate handicapping or high-risk conditions in infants, toddlers, or preschool children, or to reduce sexual activity or the risk of unwanted pregnancy in teenagers.
“Preventive health care” means periodic physical examinations, immunizations, and assessments for hearing, vision, nutritional deficiencies, development of language, physical growth, small and large muscle skills, and emotional behavior, as well as age-appropriate laboratory tests.
“Process evaluation” means the provision of information to the department on the breadth and scope of the childhood pregnancy prevention public education program. The evaluation must identify program areas that need modification and identify community-based local contractor strategies and procedures which are particularly effective.
“Strategic plan” means a report that analyzes existing programs, services, resources, policy, and needs and sets clear and consistent direction for programs and services for high-risk pregnant women and for preschool children, with emphasis on high-risk and handicapped children, by establishing goals and child and family outcomes, and strategies to meet them.
“Teen parent” means a person under 18 years of age or enrolled in school in grade 12 or below, who is pregnant, who is the father of an unborn child, or who is the parent of a child.
s. 1, ch. 89-379; s. 7, ch. 90-358; s. 2, ch. 91-229; s. 1, ch. 95-321; s. 51, ch. 97-103; s. 62, ch. 2000-153.
Continuum of comprehensive services.—
The Department of Education and the 1Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services shall utilize the continuum of prevention and early assistance services for high-risk pregnant women and for high-risk and handicapped children and their families, as outlined in this section, as a basis for the intraagency and interagency program coordination, monitoring, and analysis required in this chapter. The continuum shall be the guide for the comprehensive statewide approach for services for high-risk pregnant women and for high-risk and handicapped children and their families, and may be expanded or reduced as necessary for the enhancement of those services. Expansion or reduction of the continuum shall be determined by intraagency or interagency findings and agreement, whichever is applicable. Implementation of the continuum shall be based upon applicable eligibility criteria, availability of resources, and interagency prioritization when programs impact both agencies, or upon single agency prioritization when programs impact only one agency. The continuum shall include, but not be limited to:
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS.—
Education of the public concerning, but not limited to, the causes of handicapping conditions, normal and abnormal child development, the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity, and the consequences of teenage pregnancy.
Education of professionals and paraprofessionals concerning, but not limited to, the causes of handicapping conditions, normal and abnormal child development, parenting skills, the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity, and the consequences of teenage pregnancy, through preservice and inservice training, continuing education, and required postsecondary coursework.
INFORMATION AND REFERRAL.—
Providing information about available services and programs to families of high-risk and handicapped children.
Providing information about service options and providing technical assistance to aid families in the decisionmaking process.
Directing the family to appropriate services and programs to meet identified needs.
Arranging and coordinating services and activities for high-risk pregnant women, and for high-risk children and their families, with identified service providers.
Providing appropriate casework services to pregnant women and to high-risk children and their families.
Advocating for pregnant women and for children and their families.
SUPPORT SERVICES PRIOR TO PREGNANCY.—
Basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter.
Family planning services, on a voluntary basis.
Counseling to promote a healthy, stable, and supportive family unit, to include, but not be limited to, financial planning, stress management, and educational planning.
MATERNITY AND NEWBORN SERVICES.—
Comprehensive prenatal care, accessible to all pregnant women and provided for high-risk pregnant women.
Adoption counseling for unmarried pregnant teenagers.
Nutrition services for high-risk pregnant women.
Perinatal intensive care.
Delivery services for high-risk pregnant women.
Nutrition services for lactating mothers of high-risk children.
A new mother information program at the birth site, to provide an informational brochure about immunizations, normal child development, abuse avoidance and appropriate parenting strategies, family planning, and community resources and support services for all parents of newborns and to schedule Medicaid-eligible infants for a health checkup.
Appropriate screenings, to include, but not be limited to, metabolic screening, sickle-cell screening, hearing screening, developmental screening, and categorical screening.
Followup family planning services for high-risk mothers and mothers of high-risk infants.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION SERVICES FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN.—
Preventive health services for all preschool children.
Nutrition services for all preschool children, including, but not limited to, the Child Care Food Program and the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
Medical care for seriously medically impaired preschool children.
Cost-effective quality health care alternatives for medically involved preschool children, in or near their homes.
EDUCATION, EARLY ASSISTANCE, AND RELATED SERVICES FOR HIGH-RISK CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES.—
Early assistance, including, but not limited to, developmental assistance programs, parent support and training programs, and appropriate followup assistance services, for handicapped and high-risk infants and their families.
Special education and related services for handicapped children.
Education, early assistance, and related services for high-risk children.
SUPPORT SERVICES FOR ALL EXPECTANT PARENTS AND PARENTS OF HIGH-RISK CHILDREN.—
Nonmedical prenatal and support services for pregnant teenagers and other high-risk pregnant women.
Child care and early childhood programs, including, but not limited to, licensed child care facilities, family day care homes, therapeutic child care, Head Start, and preschool programs in public and private schools.
Parent education and counseling.
Respite care, homemaker care, crisis management, and other services that allow families of high-risk children to maintain and provide quality care to their children at home.
Parent support groups, such as the community resource mother or father program as established in s. 402.45, or parents as first teachers, to strengthen families and to enable families of high-risk children to better meet their needs.
Utilization of the elderly, either as volunteers or paid employees, to work with high-risk children.
Utilization of high school and postsecondary students as volunteers to work with high-risk children.
MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES.—
Resource information systems on services and programs available for families.
Registry of high-risk newborns and newborns with birth defects, which utilizes privacy safeguards for children and parents who are subjects of the registry.
Local registry of preschoolers with high-risk or handicapping conditions, which utilizes privacy safeguards for children and parents who are subjects of the registry.
Information sharing system among the 1Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, the Department of Education, local education agencies, and other appropriate entities, on children eligible for services. Information may be shared when parental or guardian permission has been given for release.
Well-baby insurance for preschoolers included in the family policy coverage.
Evaluation, to include:
Establishing child-centered and family-focused goals and objectives for each element of the continuum.
Developing a system to report child and family outcomes and program effectiveness for each element of the continuum.
Planning for continuation of services, to include:
Individual and family service plan by an interdisciplinary team, for the transition from birth or the earliest point of identification of a high-risk infant or toddler into an early assistance, preschool program for 3-year-olds or 4-year-olds, or other appropriate programs.
Individual and family service plan by an interdisciplinary team, for the transition of a high-risk preschool child into a public or private school system.
s. 1, ch. 89-379; s. 999, ch. 2002-387; s. 20, ch. 2010-210.
The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services was redesignated as the Department of Children and Family Services by s. 5, ch. 96-403, and the Department of Health was created by s. 8, ch. 96-403.
Dangers of shaking infants and young children; requirements for distributing brochures.—
Every hospital, birthing facility, and provider of home birth which has maternity and newborn services shall provide to the parents of a newborn, before they take their newborn home from the hospital or birthing facility, written information with an explanation concerning the dangers of shaking infants and young children.
The Department of Health shall prepare a brochure that describes the dangers of shaking infants and young children. The description must include information concerning the grave effects of shaking infants and young children, information concerning appropriate ways to manage the causes that can lead a person to shake infants and young children, and a discussion of ways to reduce the risks that can lead a person to shake infants and young children.
This section does not preclude a hospital, birthing facility, or a home birth provider from providing the notice required under this section as an addendum to, or in connection with, any other required information.
A cause of action does not accrue against the state or any subdivision or agency thereof or any hospital birthing facility or home-birth provider for failure to give or receive the information required under this section.
s. 2, ch. 2002-174.
Former s. 411.233.
The 1Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and the State Board of Education shall adopt rules necessary for the implementation of this chapter.
s. 1, ch. 89-379.
The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services was redesignated as the Department of Children and Family Services by s. 5, ch. 96-403, and the Department of Health was created by s. 8, ch. 96-403.
PREVENTION AND EARLY ASSISTANCE
The Legislature finds and declares that 50 percent of handicapping conditions in young children can be prevented, and such conditions which are not prevented can be minimized by focusing prevention efforts on high-risk pregnant women and on high-risk and handicapped preschool children and their families. The Legislature further finds that by preventing handicaps in preschool children, infant mortality and child abuse can be reduced and this state can reap substantial savings in both human potential and state funds. The Legislature finds that infant mortality, handicapping conditions in young children, and other health problems for infants and mothers are associated with teenage pregnancy and that the prevention of sexual activity and unwanted teenage pregnancy can reduce the number of at-risk children, while increasing human potential and reducing the cost of health care. The Legislature further finds that a continuum of integrated services is needed to identify, diagnose, and treat high-risk conditions in pregnant women and in preschool children. The Legislature finds that intraagency and interagency coordination can enhance the framework of a continuum that is already in existence and that coordination of public sector and private sector prevention services can reduce infant mortality and handicapping conditions in preschool children and minimize the effects of handicapping conditions. It is the intent of the Legislature, therefore, that a continuum of efficient and cost-effective prevention and early assistance services be identified, that a plan for intraagency and interagency coordination be developed for the purpose of implementing such a continuum, and that the continuum of services be implemented as resources are made available for such implementation.
s. 2, ch. 89-379; s. 8, ch. 90-358.
The Department of Children and Family Services, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall establish a minimum set of procedures for each preschool child who receives preventive health care with state funds. Preventive health care services shall meet the minimum standards established by federal law for the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program and shall provide guidance on screening instruments which are appropriate for identifying health risks and handicapping conditions in preschool children.
Duplicative diagnostic and planning practices shall be eliminated to the extent possible. Diagnostic and other information necessary to provide quality services to high-risk or handicapped children shall be shared among the program offices of the Department of Children and Family Services, pursuant to the provisions of s. 1002.22.
s. 2, ch. 89-379; s. 66, ch. 2000-139; s. 1000, ch. 2002-387.
Family support planning process.—
The Legislature establishes a family support planning process to be used by the Department of Children and Family Services as the service planning process for targeted individuals, children, and families under its purview.
The Department of Education shall take all appropriate and necessary steps to encourage and facilitate the implementation of the family support planning process for individuals, children, and families within its purview.
To the extent possible within existing resources, the following populations must be included in the family support planning process:
Children from birth to age 5 who are served by the clinic and programs of the Division of Children’s Medical Services of the Department of Health.
Children participating in the developmental evaluation and intervention program of the Division of Children’s Medical Services of the Department of Health.
Children from age 3 through age 5 who are served by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
Children from birth through age 5 who are served by the Mental Health Program Office of the Department of Children and Family Services.
Healthy Start participants in need of ongoing service coordination.
Children from birth through age 5 who are served by the voluntary family services, protective supervision, foster care, or adoption and related services programs of the Child Care Services Program Office of the Department of Children and Family Services, and who are eligible for ongoing services from one or more other programs or agencies that participate in family support planning; however, children served by the voluntary family services program, where the planned length of intervention is 30 days or less, are excluded from this population.
When individuals included in the target population are served by Head Start, local education agencies, or other prevention and early intervention programs, providers must be notified and efforts made to facilitate the concerned agency’s participation in family support planning.
Local education agencies are encouraged to use a family support planning process for children from birth through 5 years of age who are served by the prekindergarten program for children with disabilities, in lieu of the Individual Education Plan.
There must be only a single-family support plan to address the problems of the various family members unless the family requests that an individual family support plan be developed for different members of that family. The family support plan must replace individual habilitation plans for children from 3 through 5 years old who are served by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
The family support plan at a minimum must include the following information:
The family’s statement of family concerns, priorities, and resources.
Information related to the health, educational, economic and social needs, and overall development of the individual and the family.
The outcomes that the plan is intended to achieve.
Identification of the resources and services to achieve each outcome projected in the plan. These resources and services are to be provided based on availability and funding.
A family support plan meeting must be held with the family to initially develop the family support plan and annually thereafter to update the plan as necessary. The family includes anyone who has an integral role in the life of the individual or child as identified by the individual or family. The family support plan must be reviewed periodically during the year, at least at 6-month intervals, to modify and update the plan as needed. Such periodic reviews do not require a family support plan team meeting but may be accomplished through other means such as a case file review and telephone conference with the family.
The initial family support plan must be developed within a 90-day period. If exceptional circumstances make it impossible to complete the evaluation activities and to hold the initial family support plan team meeting within a reasonable time period, these circumstances must be documented, and the individual or family must be notified of the reason for the delay. With the agreement of the family and the provider, services for which either the individual or the family is eligible may be initiated before the completion of the evaluation activities and the family support plan.
The Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, and the Department of Education, to the extent that funds are available, must offer technical assistance to communities to facilitate the implementation of the family support plan.
The Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, and the Department of Education shall adopt rules necessary to implement this act.
s. 7, ch. 93-143; s. 196, ch. 99-8; s. 67, ch. 2000-139; s. 63, ch. 2000-158; s. 55, ch. 2006-227; s. 21, ch. 2010-161.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Improve the availability to parents of appropriate education and intervention programs, services, and supports to address learning problems and learning disabilities.
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.
Improve accountability of the system through improved planning, integration, and collaboration among providers and through outcome measurement in collaboration with parents.
LEARNING GATEWAY STEERING COMMITTEE.—
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.
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.
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.
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.
To support and facilitate system improvements, the steering committee must consult with representatives from the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the Department of Children and Family Services, 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.
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.
Steering committee members shall not receive compensation for their services, but may receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred under s. 112.061.
LEARNING GATEWAY DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS.—
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Family Services 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.
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.
Addressing system components delineated in s. 411.227, each demonstration project proposal must include, at a minimum:
Protocols for requiring and receiving parental consent for Learning Gateway services.
A method for establishing communication with parents and coordination and planning processes within the community.
Action steps for making appropriate linkages to existing services within the community.
Procedures to determine gaps in services and identify appropriate providers.
A lead agency to serve as the system access point, or gateway.
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.
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.
s. 5, ch. 2002-265; s. 1, ch. 2003-3; s. 10, ch. 2004-484.
Components of the Learning Gateway.—
The Learning Gateway system consists of the following components:
COMMUNITY EDUCATION STRATEGIES AND FAMILY-ORIENTED ACCESS.—
Each local demonstration project shall establish the system access point, or gateway, by which parents can receive information about available appropriate services. An existing public or private agency or provider or new provider may serve as the system gateway. The local Learning Gateway should provide parents and caretakers with a single point of access for screening, assessment, and referral for services for children from birth through age 9. The demonstration projects have the budgetary authority to hire appropriate personnel to perform administrative functions. These staff members must be knowledgeable about child development, early identification of learning problems and learning disabilities, family service planning, and services in the local area. Each demonstration project must arrange for the following services to be provided by existing service systems:
Conducting intake with families.
Conducting appropriate screening or referral for such services.
Conducting needs/strengths-based family assessment.
Developing family resource plans.
Making referrals for needed services and assisting families in the application process.
Providing service coordination as needed by families.
Assisting families in establishing a medical home.
Conducting case management and transition planning as necessary.
Monitoring performance of service providers against appropriate standards.
The Learning Gateway Steering Committee and demonstration projects shall designate a central information and referral access phone number for parents in each pilot community. This centralized phone number should be used to increase public awareness and to improve access to local supports and services for children from birth through age 9 and their families. The number should be highly publicized as the primary source of information on services for young children. The telephone staff should be trained and supported to offer accurate and complete information and to make appropriate referrals to existing public and private community agencies.
In collaboration with local resources such as Healthy Start, the demonstration projects shall develop strategies for offering hospital visits or home visits by trained staff to new mothers. The Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall provide technical assistance to local demonstration projects in developing brochures and other materials to be distributed to parents of newborns.
In collaboration with other local resources, the demonstration projects shall develop public awareness strategies to disseminate information about developmental milestones, precursors of learning problems and other developmental delays, and the service system that is available. The information should target parents of children from birth through age 9 and should be distributed to parents, health care providers, and caregivers of children from birth through age 9. A variety of media should be used as appropriate, such as print, television, radio, and a community-based Internet website, as well as opportunities such as those presented by parent visits to physicians for well-child checkups. The Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall provide technical assistance to the local demonstration projects in developing and distributing educational materials and information.
Public awareness strategies targeting parents of children from birth through age 5 shall be designed to provide information to public and private preschool programs, child care providers, pediatricians, parents, and local businesses and organizations. These strategies should include information on the school readiness performance standards adopted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Public awareness strategies targeting parents of children from ages 6 through 9 must be designed to disseminate training materials and brochures to parents and public and private school personnel, and must be coordinated with the local school board and the appropriate school advisory committees in the demonstration projects. The materials should contain information on state and district proficiency levels for grades K-3.
SCREENING AND DEVELOPMENTAL MONITORING.—
In coordination with the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the Department of Education, and the Florida Pediatric Society, and using information learned from the local demonstration projects, the Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall establish guidelines for screening children from birth through age 9. The guidelines should incorporate recent research on the indicators most likely to predict early learning problems, mild developmental delays, child-specific precursors of school failure, and other related developmental indicators in the domains of cognition; communication; attention; perception; behavior; and social, emotional, sensory, and motor functioning.
Based on the guidelines established by the steering committee and in cooperation with the Florida Pediatric Society, the steering committee shall adopt a comprehensive checklist for child healthcare checkups and a corresponding training package for physicians and other medical personnel in implementing more effective screening for precursors of learning problems, learning disabilities, and mild developmental delays.
Using the screening guidelines developed by the steering committee, local demonstration projects should engage local physicians and other medical professionals in enhancing the screening opportunities presented by immunization visits and other well-child appointments, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics Periodicity Schedule.
Using the screening guidelines developed by the steering committee, the demonstration projects shall develop strategies to increase early identification of precursors to learning problems and learning disabilities through providing parents the option of improved screening and referral practices within public and private early care and education programs and K-3 public and private school settings. Strategies may include training and technical assistance teams to assist program providers and teachers. The program shall collaborate appropriately with the school readiness coalitions, local school boards, and other community resources in arranging training and technical assistance for early identification and screening with parental consent.
The demonstration project shall work with appropriate local entities to reduce the duplication of cross-agency screening in each demonstration project area. Demonstration projects shall provide opportunities for public and private providers of screening and assessment at each age level to meet periodically to identify gaps or duplication of efforts in screening practices.
Based on technical assistance and support provided by the steering committee and in conjunction with the school readiness coalitions and other appropriate entities, demonstration projects shall develop a system to log the number of children screened, assessed, and referred for services. After development and testing, tracking should be supported by a standard electronic data system for screening and assessment information.
In conjunction with the technical assistance of the steering committee, demonstration projects shall develop a system for targeted screening. The projects should conduct a needs assessment of existing services and programs where targeted screening programs should be offered. Based on the results of the needs assessment, the project shall develop procedures within the demonstration community whereby periodic developmental screening could be offered to parents of children from birth through age 9 who are served by state intervention programs or whose parents or caregivers are in state intervention programs. Intervention programs for children, parents, and caregivers include those administered or funded by the:
Agency for Health Care Administration;
Department of Children and Family Services;
Department of Corrections and other criminal justice programs;
Department of Education;
Department of Health; and
Department of Juvenile Justice.
When results of screening suggest developmental problems, potential learning problems, or learning disabilities, the intervention program shall inform the child’s parent of the results of the screening and shall offer to refer the child to the Learning Gateway for coordination of further assessment. If the parent chooses to have further assessment, the Learning Gateway shall make referrals to the appropriate entities within the service system.
The local Learning Gateway shall provide for followup contact to all families whose children have been found ineligible for services under Part B or Part C of the IDEA to inform them of other services available in the county.
Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, each agency participating in the Learning Gateway is authorized to provide to a Learning Gateway program confidential information exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 regarding a developmental screening on any child participating in the Learning Gateway who is or has been the subject of a developmental screening within the jurisdiction of each agency.
EARLY EDUCATION, SERVICES AND SUPPORTS.—
The demonstration projects shall develop a conceptual model system of care that builds upon, integrates, and fills the gaps in existing services. The model shall indicate how qualified providers of family-based or center-based interventions or public and private school personnel may offer services in a manner consistent with the standards established by their profession and by the standards and criteria adopted by the steering committee and consistent with effective and proven strategies. The specific services and supports may include:
High-quality early education and care programs.
Assistance to parents and other caregivers, such as home-based modeling programs for parents and play programs to provide peer interactions.
Speech and language therapy that is age-appropriate.
Parent education and training.
Comprehensive medical screening and referral with biomedical interventions as necessary.
Referral as needed for family therapy, other mental health services, and treatment programs.
Family support services as necessary.
Therapy for learning differences in reading and math, and attention to subject material for children in grades K-3.
Referral for Part B or Part C services as required.
Expanded access to community-based services for parents.
Parental choice in the provision of services by public and private providers.
The model shall include a statement of the cost of implementing the model.
Demonstration projects shall develop strategies to increase the use of appropriate intervention practices with children who have learning problems and learning disabilities within public and private early care and education programs and K-3 public and private school settings. Strategies may include training and technical assistance teams. Intervention must be coordinated and must focus on providing effective supports to children and their families within their regular education and community environment. These strategies must incorporate, as appropriate, school and district activities related to the student’s progress monitoring plan and must provide parents with greater access to community-based services that should be available beyond the traditional school day. Academic expectations for public school students in grades K-3 must be based upon the local school board’s adopted proficiency levels. When appropriate, school personnel shall consult with the local Learning Gateway to identify other community resources for supporting the child and the family.
The steering committee, in cooperation with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Education, and the Agency for Workforce Innovation, shall identify the elements of an effective research-based curriculum for early care and education programs.
The steering committee, in conjunction with the demonstration projects, shall develop processes for identifying and sharing promising practices and shall showcase these programs and practices at a dissemination conference.
The steering committee shall establish processes for facilitating state and local providers’ ready access to information and training concerning effective instructional and behavioral practices and interventions based on advances in the field and for encouraging researchers to regularly guide practitioners in designing and implementing research-based practices. The steering committee shall assist the demonstration projects in conducting a conference for participants in the three demonstration projects for the dissemination of information on best practices and new insights about early identification, education, and intervention for children from birth through age 9. The conference should be established so that continuing education credits may be awarded to medical professionals, teachers, and others for whom this is an incentive.
Demonstration projects shall investigate and may recommend to the steering committee more effective resource allocation and flexible funding strategies if such strategies are in the best interest of the children and families in the community. The Department of Education and other relevant agencies shall assist the demonstration projects in securing state and federal waivers as appropriate.
s. 6, ch. 2002-265; s. 11, ch. 2004-484; s. 2, ch. 2006-74.
The steering committee shall provide information to the School Readiness Estimating Conference and the Enrollment Conference for Public Schools regarding estimates of the population of children from birth through age 9 who are at risk of learning problems and learning disabilities.
The steering committee, in conjunction with the demonstration projects, shall develop accountability mechanisms to ensure that the demonstration programs are effective and that resources are used as efficiently as possible. Accountability should be addressed through a multilevel evaluation system, including measurement of outcomes and operational indicators. Measurable outcomes must be developed to address improved child development, improved child health, and success in school. Indicators of system improvements must be developed to address quality of programs and integration of services. Agency monitoring of programs shall include a review of child and family outcomes and system effectiveness indicators with a specific focus on elimination of unnecessary duplication of planning, screening, and services.
The steering committee shall oversee a formative evaluation of the project during implementation, including reporting short-term outcomes and system improvements. By January 2005, the steering committee shall make recommendations to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Commissioner of Education related to the merits of expansion of the demonstration projects.
By January 1, 2005, the steering committee, in conjunction with the demonstration projects, shall develop a model county-level strategic plan to formalize the goals, objectives, strategies, and intended outcomes of the comprehensive system, and to support the integration and efficient delivery of all services and supports for parents of children from birth through age 9 who have learning problems or learning disabilities. The model county-level strategic plan must include, but need not be limited to, strategies to:
Establish a system whereby parents can access information about learning problems in young children and receive services at their discretion;
Improve early identification of those who are at risk for learning problems and learning disabilities;
Provide access to an appropriate array of services within the child’s natural environment or regular classroom setting or specialized training in other settings;
Improve and coordinate screening for children from birth through age 9;
Improve and coordinate services for children from birth through age 9;
Address training of professionals in effectively identifying factors, across all domains, which place children from birth through age 9 at risk of school failure and in appropriate interventions for the learning differences;
Provide appropriate support to families;
Share best practices with caregivers and referral sources;
Address resource needs of the assessment and intervention system; and
Address development of implementation plans to establish protocols for requiring and receiving parental consent for services; to identify action steps, responsible parties, and implementation schedules; and to ensure appropriate alignment with agency strategic plans.
s. 7, ch. 2002-265.
CHILDHOOD PREGNANCY PREVENTION
PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM
This part may be cited as the “Florida Education Now and Babies Later (ENABL) Act.”
s. 2, ch. 95-321.
The Legislature finds and declares that childhood pregnancies continue to be a serious problem in the state. Therefore, the Legislature intends to establish, through a public-private partnership, a program to encourage children to abstain from sexual activity.
s. 2, ch. 95-321.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Community Initiative.—
Subject to the availability of funds, the Department of Health shall create a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Community Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to create collaborative community partnerships to reduce teen pregnancy. Participating communities shall examine their needs and resources relative to teen pregnancy prevention and develop plans which provide for a collaborative approach to how existing, enhanced, and new initiatives together will reduce teen pregnancy in a community. Community incentive grants shall provide funds for communities to implement plans which provide for a collaborative, comprehensive, outcome-focused approach to reducing teen pregnancy.
The requirements of the community incentive grants are as follows:
The goal required of all grants is to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy. All grants must be designed and required to maintain the data to substantiate reducing the incidence of teen pregnancy in the targeted area in their community.
The target population is teens through 19 years of age, including both males and females and mothers and fathers.
Grants must target a specified geographic area or region, for which data can be maintained to substantiate the teen pregnancy rate.
In order to receive funding, communities must demonstrate collaboration in the provision of existing and new teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. This collaboration shall include developing linkages to the health care, social services, and education systems.
Plans must be developed for how a community will reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy in a specified geographic area or region. These plans must include:
Provision for collaboration between existing and new initiatives for a comprehensive, well-planned, outcome-focused approach. All organizations involved in teen pregnancy prevention in the community must be involved in the planning and implementation of the community incentive grant initiative.
Provision in the targeted area or region for all of the components identified below. These components may be addressed through a collaboration of existing initiatives, enhancements, or new initiatives. Community incentive grant funds must address current gaps in the comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention plan for communities.
Primary prevention components are:
Prevention strategies targeting males.
Role modeling and monitoring.
Intervention strategies targeting abused or neglected children.
Human sexuality education.
Sexual advances protection education.
Reproductive health care.
Intervention strategies targeting younger siblings of teen mothers.
Community and public awareness.
Innovative programs to facilitate prosecutions under s. 794.011, s. 794.05, or s. 800.04.
Secondary prevention components are:
Parent education, skill building, and supports.
Care coordination and case management.
Goal setting and achievement.
Community plans must provide for initiatives which are culturally competent and relevant to the families’ values.
The state shall conduct an independent process and outcome evaluation of all the community incentive grant initiatives. The evaluation shall be conducted in three phases: The first phase shall focus on process, including implementation and operation, to be reported on after the first year of operation; the second phase shall be an interim evaluation of the outcome, to be completed after the third year of operation; the third phase shall be a final evaluation of process, outcome, and achievement of the overall goal of reducing the incidence of teen pregnancy, to be completed at the end of the fifth year of operation.
The state shall provide technical assistance, training, and quality assurance to assist the initiative in achieving its goals.
s. 102, ch. 96-175; s. 198, ch. 99-8.