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   24         certain terms; and deleting outdated terms; amending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