Florida Senate - 2016                                    SB 7034
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs
       586-01459-16                                          20167034__
    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; amending s. 391.308, F.S.; renaming the
   25         “Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Program” as
   26         the “Early Steps Program”; requiring, rather than
   27         authorizing, the department to implement and
   28         administer the program; requiring the department to
   29         ensure that the program follows specified performance
   30         standards; providing requirements of the program to
   31         meet such performance standards; revising the duties
   32         of the department; requiring the department to apply
   33         specified eligibility criteria for the program;
   34         providing duties for local program offices; requiring
   35         the development of an individualized family support
   36         plan for each child served in the program; requiring
   37         referral for services by a local program office under
   38         certain circumstances; requiring the local program
   39         office to negotiate and maintain agreements with
   40         specified providers and managed care entities;
   41         requiring the local program office to coordinate with
   42         managed care plans; requiring the department to submit
   43         an annual report, subject to certain requirements, to
   44         the Governor, the Legislature, and the Florida
   45         Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and
   46         Toddlers by a specified date; designating the Florida
   47         Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and
   48         Toddlers as the state interagency coordinating council
   49         required by federal rule subject to certain
   50         requirements; providing requirements for the local
   51         program office and local school district to prepare
   52         certain children for the transition to school under
   53         certain circumstances; amending ss. 413.092 and
   54         1003.575, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made
   55         by the act; repealing ss. 391.303, 391.304, 391.305,
   56         391.306, and 391.307, F.S., relating to requirements
   57         for the Children’s Medical Services program, program
   58         coordination, program standards, program funding and
   59         contracts, and program review, respectively; providing
   60         an effective date.
   62  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   64         Section 1. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 383.141,
   65  Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsection (4) is added to
   66  that section, to read:
   67         383.141 Prenatally diagnosed conditions; patient to be
   68  provided information; definitions; information clearinghouse;
   69  advisory council.—
   70         (2) When a developmental disability is diagnosed based on
   71  the results of a prenatal test, the health care provider who
   72  ordered the prenatal test, or his or her designee, shall provide
   73  the patient with current information about the nature of the
   74  developmental disability, the accuracy of the prenatal test, and
   75  resources for obtaining relevant support services, including
   76  hotlines, resource centers, and information clearinghouses
   77  related to Down syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed
   78  developmental disabilities; support programs for parents and
   79  families; and developmental evaluation and intervention services
   80  under this part s. 391.303.
   81         (3) The Department of Health shall develop and implement a
   82  comprehensive information clearinghouse to educate health care
   83  providers, inform parents, and increase public awareness
   84  regarding brain development, developmental disabilities and
   85  delays, and all services, resources, and interventions available
   86  to mitigate the effects of impaired development among children.
   87  The clearinghouse must use the term “unique abilities” as much
   88  as possible when identifying infants or children with
   89  developmental disabilities and delays. The clearinghouse must
   90  provide:
   91         (a)Health information on conditions that may lead to
   92  impaired development of physical, learning, language, or
   93  behavioral skills.
   94         (b)Education and information to support parents whose
   95  unborn children have been prenatally diagnosed with
   96  developmental disabilities or whose children have diagnosed or
   97  suspected developmental delays.
   98         (c) Education and training for health care providers to
   99  recognize and respond appropriately to developmental
  100  disabilities, delays, and conditions related to disabilities or
  101  delays. Specific information approved by the advisory council
  102  shall be made available to health care providers for use in
  103  counseling parents whose unborn children have been prenatally
  104  diagnosed with developmental disabilities or whose children have
  105  diagnosed or suspected developmental delays.
  106         (d) Promotion of public awareness of availability of
  107  supportive services, such as resource centers, educational
  108  programs, other support programs for parents and families, and
  109  developmental evaluation and intervention services.
  110         (e) Hotlines specific to Down syndrome and other prenatally
  111  diagnosed developmental disabilities. The hotlines and the
  112  department’s clearinghouse must provide information to parents
  113  and families or other caregivers regarding the Early Steps
  114  Program under s. 391.301, the Florida Diagnostic Learning and
  115  Resource System, the Early Learning program, Healthy Start, Help
  116  Me Grow, and any other intervention programs. Information
  117  offered must include directions on how to obtain early
  118  intervention, rehabilitative, and habilitative services and
  119  devices establish on its Internet website a clearinghouse of
  120  information related to developmental disabilities concerning
  121  providers of supportive services, information hotlines specific
  122  to Down syndrome and other prenatally diagnosed developmental
  123  disabilities, resource centers, educational programs, other
  124  support programs for parents and families, and developmental
  125  evaluation and intervention services under s. 391.303. Such
  126  information shall be made available to health care providers for
  127  use in counseling pregnant women whose unborn children have been
  128  prenatally diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
  129         (4)(a) There is established an advisory council within the
  130  Department of Health which consists of health care providers and
  131  caregivers who perform health care services for persons who have
  132  developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome and autism.
  133  This group shall consist of nine members as follows:
  134         1. Three members appointed by the Governor;
  135         2. Three members appointed by the President of the Senate;
  136  and
  137         3. Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House of
  138  Representatives.
  139         (b) The advisory council shall provide technical assistance
  140  to the Department of Health in the establishment of the
  141  information clearinghouse and give the department the benefit of
  142  the council members’ knowledge and experience relating to the
  143  needs of patients and families of patients with developmental
  144  disabilities and available support services.
  145         (c) Members of the council shall elect a chairperson and a
  146  vice chairperson. The elected chairperson and vice chairperson
  147  shall serve in these roles until their terms of appointment on
  148  the council expire.
  149         (d) The advisory council shall meet quarterly to review
  150  this clearinghouse of information, and may meet more often at
  151  the call of the chairperson or as determined by a majority of
  152  members.
  153         (e) The council members shall be appointed to 4-year terms,
  154  except that, to provide for staggered terms, one initial
  155  appointee each from the Governor, the President of the Senate,
  156  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be
  157  appointed to a 2-year term, one appointee each from these
  158  officials shall be appointed to a 3-year term, and the remaining
  159  initial appointees shall be appointed to 4-year terms. All
  160  subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. A vacancy
  161  shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the
  162  same manner as the original appointment.
  163         (f) Members of the council shall serve without
  164  compensation. Meetings of the council may be held in person,
  165  without reimbursement for travel expenses, or by teleconference
  166  or other electronic means.
  167         (g) The Department of Health shall provide administrative
  168  support for the advisory council.
  169         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
  170  391.025, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  171         391.025 Applicability and scope.—
  172         (1) The Children’s Medical Services program consists of the
  173  following components:
  174         (c) The developmental evaluation and intervention program,
  175  including the Early Steps Florida Infants and Toddlers Early
  176  Intervention Program.
  177         Section 3. Subsection (19) is added to section 391.026,
  178  Florida Statutes, to read:
  179         391.026 Powers and duties of the department.—The department
  180  shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities:
  181         (19) To serve as the lead agency in administering the Early
  182  Steps Program pursuant to part C of the federal Individuals with
  183  Disabilities Education Act and part III of this chapter.
  184         Section 4. Section 391.301, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  185  read:
  186         391.301 Early Steps Program; establishment and goals
  187  Developmental evaluation and intervention programs; legislative
  188  findings and intent.—
  189         (1) The Early Steps Program is established within the
  190  department to serve infants and toddlers who are at risk of
  191  developmental disabilities and infants and toddlers with
  192  developmental delays by providing developmental evaluation and
  193  early intervention and by providing families with training and
  194  support services in a variety of home and community settings The
  195  Legislature finds that the high-risk and disabled newborn
  196  infants in this state need in-hospital and outpatient
  197  developmental evaluation and intervention and that their
  198  families need training and support services. The Legislature
  199  further finds that there is an identifiable and increasing
  200  number of infants who need developmental evaluation and
  201  intervention and family support due to the fact that increased
  202  numbers of low-birthweight and sick full-term newborn infants
  203  are now surviving because of the advances in neonatal intensive
  204  care medicine; increased numbers of medically involved infants
  205  are remaining inappropriately in hospitals because their parents
  206  lack the confidence or skills to care for these infants without
  207  support; and increased numbers of infants are at risk due to
  208  parent risk factors, such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancy,
  209  and other high-risk conditions.
  210         (2) The program may include screening and referral It is
  211  the intent of the Legislature to establish developmental
  212  evaluation and intervention services at all hospitals providing
  213  Level II or Level III neonatal intensive care services, in order
  214  to promptly identify newborns with disabilities or with
  215  conditions associated with risks of developmental delays so that
  216  families with high-risk or disabled infants may gain as early as
  217  possible the services and skills they need to support their
  218  infants’ development infants.
  219         (3) The program must It is the intent of the Legislature
  220  that a methodology be developed to integrate information and
  221  coordinate services on infants with potentially disabling
  222  conditions with other early intervention programs, including,
  223  but not limited to, Part C of Pub. L. No. 105-17 and the Healthy
  224  Start program, the newborn screening program, and the Blind
  225  Babies Program.
  226         (4) The program must:
  227         (a) Provide services to enhance the development of infants
  228  and toddlers with disabilities and delays.
  229         (b)Expand the recognition by health care providers,
  230  families, and the public of the significant brain development
  231  that occurs during a child’s first 3 years of life.
  232         (c)Maintain the importance of the family in all areas of
  233  the child’s development and support the family’s participation
  234  in early intervention services and decisions affecting the
  235  child.
  236         (d)Operate a comprehensive, coordinated interagency system
  237  of early intervention services and supports in accordance with
  238  part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education
  239  Act.
  240         (e)Ensure timely evaluation, individual planning, and
  241  early intervention services necessary to meet the unique needs
  242  of eligible infants and toddlers.
  243         (f)Build the service capacity and enhance the competencies
  244  of health care providers serving infants and toddlers with
  245  unique needs and abilities.
  246         (g)Ensure programmatic and fiscal accountability through
  247  establishment of a high-capacity data system, active monitoring
  248  of performance indicators, and ongoing quality improvement.
  249         Section 5. Section 391.302, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  250  read:
  251         391.302 Definitions.—As used in ss. 391.301-391.308 ss.
  252  391.301-391.307, the term:
  253         (1) “Developmental delay” means a condition, identified and
  254  measured through appropriate instruments and procedures, which
  255  may delay physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional,
  256  or adaptive development.
  257         (2) “Developmental disability” means a condition,
  258  identified and measured through appropriate instruments and
  259  procedures, which may impair physical, cognitive, communication,
  260  social/emotional, or adaptive development.
  261         (3) “Developmental intervention” or “early intervention”
  262  means individual and group individualized therapies and services
  263  needed to enhance both the infant’s or toddler’s growth and
  264  development and family functioning. The term includes
  265  habilitative services and assistive technology devices,
  266  rehabilitative services and assistive technology devices, and
  267  parent support and training.
  268         (4) “Habilitative services and devices” means health care
  269  services and devices that help a child maintain, learn, or
  270  improve skills and functioning for daily living.
  271         (5)(2) “Infant or toddler” or “child” means a child from
  272  birth until the child’s third birthday.
  273         (6)(3) “In-hospital intervention services” means the
  274  provision of assessments; the provision of individual
  275  individualized services; monitoring and modifying the delivery
  276  of medical interventions; and enhancing the environment for the
  277  high-risk, developmentally disabled, or medically involved
  278  infant or toddler in order to achieve optimum growth and
  279  development.
  280         (7) “Local program office” means an office that administers
  281  the Early Steps Program within a municipality, county, or
  282  region.
  283         (8)(4) “Parent support and training” means a range of
  284  services to families of high-risk, developmentally disabled, or
  285  medically involved infants or toddlers, including family
  286  counseling; financial planning; agency referral; development of
  287  parent-to-parent support groups; education concerning growth,
  288  development, and developmental intervention and objective
  289  measurable skills, including abuse avoidance skills; and
  290  training of parents to advocate for their child; and bereavement
  291  counseling.
  292         (9) “Rehabilitative services and devices” means restorative
  293  and remedial services that maintain or enhance the current level
  294  of functioning of a child if there is a possibility of
  295  improvement or reversal of impairment.
  296         Section 6. Section 391.308, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  297  read:
  298         391.308 Early Steps Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention
  299  Program.—The department shall Department of Health may implement
  300  and administer part C of the federal Individuals with
  301  Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which shall be known as the
  302  Early Steps “Florida Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention
  303  Program.”
  304         (1) PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.—The department shall ensure that
  305  the Early Steps Program complies with the following performance
  306  standards:
  307         (a)The program must provide services from referral through
  308  transition in a family-centered manner that recognizes and
  309  responds to unique circumstances and needs of infants and
  310  toddlers and their families as measured by a variety of
  311  qualitative data, including satisfaction surveys, interviews,
  312  focus groups, and input from stakeholders.
  313         (b)The program must provide individualized family support
  314  plans that are understandable and usable by families, health
  315  care providers, and payors and that identify the current level
  316  of functioning of the infant or toddler, family supports and
  317  resources, expected outcomes, and specific early intervention
  318  services needed to achieve the expected outcomes, as measured by
  319  periodic system independent evaluation.
  320         (c)The program must help each family to use available
  321  resources in a way that maximizes the child’s access to services
  322  necessary to achieve the outcomes of the individualized family
  323  support plan, as measured by family feedback and by independent
  324  assessments of services used by each child.
  325         (d)The program must offer families access to quality
  326  services that effectively enable infants and toddlers with
  327  developmental disabilities and developmental delays to achieve
  328  optimal functional levels as measured by an independent
  329  evaluation of outcome indicators in social emotional skills,
  330  communication, and adaptive behaviors.
  331         (2) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.—The department shall:,
  332         (a)Jointly with the Department of Education, shall
  333  Annually prepare a grant application to the United States
  334  Department of Education for funding early intervention services
  335  for infants and toddlers with disabilities, from birth through
  336  36 months of age, and their families pursuant to part C of the
  337  federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  338         (b)(2)The department, Jointly with the Department of
  339  Education, provide shall include a reading initiative as an
  340  early intervention service for infants and toddlers.
  341         (c) Annually develop a state plan for the Early Steps
  342  Program.
  343         1. The plan must assess the need for early intervention
  344  services, evaluate the extent of the statewide need that is met
  345  by the program, identify barriers to fully meeting the need, and
  346  recommend specific action steps to improve program performance.
  347         2. The plan must be developed through an inclusive process
  348  that involves families, local program offices, health care
  349  providers, and other stakeholders.
  350         (d)Ensure the provision of developmental evaluation and
  351  intervention services in each hospital that provides Level II
  352  and Level III neonatal intensive care services to an infant or a
  353  toddler identified as being at risk for developmental
  354  disabilities who along with his or her family, would benefit
  355  from early intervention services.
  356         (e) Establish standards and qualifications for
  357  developmental evaluation and early intervention service
  358  providers, including standards for determining the adequacy of
  359  provider networks in each local program office service area.
  360         (f) Establish statewide uniform protocols and procedures to
  361  determine eligibility for developmental evaluation and early
  362  intervention services.
  363         (g) Establish a consistent, statewide format and procedure
  364  for preparing and completing an individualized family support
  365  plan.
  366         (h)Promote interagency cooperation and coordination, with
  367  the Medicaid program, the Department of Education program
  368  pursuant to part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities
  369  Education Act, and programs providing child screening such as
  370  the Florida Diagnostic Learning and Resource System, the Early
  371  Learning program, Healthy Start, and Help Me Grow program.
  372         1. Coordination with the Medicaid program shall be
  373  developed and maintained through written agreements with the
  374  Agency for Health Care Administration and Medicaid managed care
  375  entities as well as through active and ongoing communication
  376  with these entities. The department shall assist local program
  377  offices to negotiate agreements with Medicaid managed care
  378  entities in the service areas of the local program offices. Such
  379  agreements may be formal or informal.
  380         2. Coordination with education programs pursuant to part B
  381  of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act shall
  382  be developed and maintained through written agreements with the
  383  Department of Education. The department shall assist local
  384  program offices to negotiate agreements with school districts in
  385  the service areas of the local program offices.
  386         (i)Develop and disseminate the knowledge and methods
  387  necessary to effectively coordinate benefits among various payor
  388  types.
  389         (j) Provide an appeals process under chapter 120 for
  390  applicants found ineligible for developmental evaluation or
  391  early intervention services or denied financial support for such
  392  services.
  393         (k)Competitively procure local program offices to provide
  394  services throughout the state in accordance with chapter 287.
  395  The department shall specify the requirements and qualifications
  396  for local program offices in the procurement document.
  397         (l) Establish performance standards and other metrics for
  398  evaluation of local program offices, including standards for
  399  measuring timeliness of services, outcomes of early intervention
  400  services, and administrative efficiency. Performance standards
  401  and metrics shall be developed in consultation with local
  402  program offices.
  403         (m) Provide technical assistance to the local program
  404  offices.
  405         (3) ELIGIBILITY.—The department shall apply the following
  406  eligibility criteria as authorized in the General Appropriations
  407  Act.
  408         (a) All infants and toddlers in this state are eligible for
  409  an evaluation to determine the presence of a developmental
  410  disability or conditions that cause or increase the risk of
  411  developmental delays.
  412         (b)All infants and toddlers determined to have a
  413  developmental disability based on an established condition or
  414  determined to be at risk of developmental delays based on an
  415  informed clinical opinion are eligible for Early Steps Program
  416  services.
  417         (c) A child is eligible for Early Steps Program services if
  418  the application of a standardized evaluation instrument results
  419  in a score that is 1.5 standard deviations from the mean in two
  420  or more of the following domains: physical, cognitive,
  421  communication, social or emotional, and adaptive.
  422         (d) A child is eligible for Early Steps Program services if
  423  the application of a standardized evaluation instrument results
  424  in a score that is 2.0 standard deviations from the mean in one
  425  of the following domains: physical, cognitive, communication,
  426  social or emotional, and adaptive.
  427         (e) A child is eligible for Early Steps Program services if
  428  diagnosed with a physical or mental condition that has a high
  429  probability of resulting in a 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 and the Medicaid managed care plans
  442  in a local service area.
  443         (d) Provide services directly or procure services from
  444  health care providers that meet or exceed the minimum
  445  qualifications established for service providers. The local
  446  program office must become a Medicaid provider if it provides
  447  services directly.
  448         (e) Provide directly or procure services that are, to the
  449  extent possible, delivered in a child’s natural environment,
  450  such as in the child’s home or community setting. The inability
  451  to provide services in the natural environment is not a
  452  sufficient reason to deny services.
  453         (f) Develop an individualized family support plan for each
  454  child served. The plan must:
  455         1. Be completed within 45 calendar days after referral in
  456  the program;
  457         2. Be developed in conjunction with the child’s parent or
  458  legal guardian who provides written consent for the services
  459  included in the plan;
  460         3. Be reviewed at least every six months with the parent or
  461  legal guardian and updated if needed; and
  462         4. Include steps to transition to school or other future
  463  services by the child’s third birthday.
  464         (g) Assess the progress of the child and his or her family
  465  in meeting the goals of the individualized family support plan.
  466         (h) For each service required by the individualized family
  467  support plan, refer the child to an appropriate service provider
  468  or work with Medicaid managed care entities or private insurers
  469  to secure the needed services.
  470         (i) Provide service coordination services, including
  471  contacting the appropriate service provider to determine whether
  472  the provider can timely deliver the service, providing the
  473  parent or legal guardian with the name and location of the
  474  service and the date of any appointment made on behalf of the
  475  child, and contacting the parent or legal guardian after the
  476  service is provided to ensure that the service is delivered
  477  timely and to determine whether the family requests additional
  478  services.
  479         (j) Negotiate and maintain agreements with Medicaid
  480  providers and Medicaid managed care entities in its area.
  481         1. With the parent’s or legal guardian’s permission, the
  482  services in the child’s approved individualized family support
  483  plan shall be communicated to the Medicaid managed care entity.
  484  Services that cannot be funded by Medicaid must be specifically
  485  identified and explained to the family.
  486         2. The agreement between the local program office and
  487  Medicaid managed care entities must establish methods of
  488  communication and procedures for the timely approval of services
  489  covered by Medicaid.
  490         (k) Develop agreements and arrangements with private
  491  insurers in order to coordinate benefits and services for any
  492  mutual enrollee.
  493         1. The child’s approved individualized family support plan
  494  may be communicated to the child’s insurer with the parent’s or
  495  legal guardian’s permission.
  496         2. The local program office and private insurers shall
  497  establish methods of communication and procedures for the timely
  498  approval of services covered by the child’s insurer, if
  499  appropriate and approved by the child’s parent or legal
  500  guardian.
  501         (l)Provide to the department data necessary for an
  502  evaluation of the local program office performance.
  503         (5)ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTING.—By December 1 of each year,
  504  the department shall prepare and submit a report that assesses
  505  the performance of the Early Steps Program to the Governor, the
  506  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  507  Representatives, and the Florida Interagency Coordinating
  508  Council for Infants and Toddlers. The department must address
  509  the performance standards in subsection (1) and report actual
  510  performance compared to the standards for the prior fiscal year.
  511  The data used to compile the report must be submitted by each
  512  local program office in the state. The department shall report
  513  on all of the following measures:
  514         (a) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers served
  515  with an individualized family support plan.
  516         (b) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers
  517  demonstrating improved social/emotional skills after the
  518  program.
  519         (c) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers
  520  demonstrating improved use of knowledge and cognitive skills
  521  after the program.
  522         (d) Number and percentage of families reporting positive
  523  outcomes in their infant’s and toddler’s development as a result
  524  of early intervention services.
  525         (e) Progress toward meeting the goals of individualized
  526  family support plans.
  527         (f) Any additional measures established by the department.
  529  Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers shall
  530  serve as the state interagency coordinating council required by
  531  34 C.F.R. s. 303.600. The council shall be housed for
  532  administrative purposes in the department, and the department
  533  shall provide administrative support to the council.
  534         (7)TRANSITION TO EDUCATION.—
  535         (a)At least 90 days before a child reaches 3 years of age,
  536  the local program office shall initiate transition planning to
  537  ensure the child’s successful transition from the Early Steps
  538  Program to a school district program for children with
  539  disabilities or to another program as part of an individual
  540  family support plan.
  541         (b) At least 3 months before a child reaches 3 years of
  542  age, the local program office shall:
  543         1. Notify the local school district in which the child
  544  resides and the Department of Education that the child may be
  545  eligible for special education or related services as determined
  546  by the local school district pursuant to ss. 1003.21 and
  547  1003.57, unless the child’s parent or legal guardian has opted
  548  out of such notification; and
  549         2.Upon approval by the child’s parent or legal guardian,
  550  convene a transition conference that includes participation of a
  551  local school district representative and the parent or legal
  552  guardian to discuss options for and availability of services.
  553         (c) The local school district shall evaluate and determine
  554  a child’s eligibility to receive special education or related
  555  services pursuant to part B of the federal Individuals with
  556  Disabilities Education Act and ss. 1003.21 and 1003.57.
  557         (d)The local program office, in conjunction with the local
  558  school district, shall modify a child’s individual family
  559  support plan or, if applicable, the local school district shall
  560  develop an individual education plan for the child pursuant to
  561  ss. 1003.57, 1003.571, and 1003.5715, which identifies special
  562  education or related services that the child will receive and
  563  the providers or agencies that will provide such services.
  564         (e) If a child is determined to be ineligible for school
  565  district program services, the local program office and the
  566  local school district shall provide the child’s parent or legal
  567  guardian with written information on other available services or
  568  community resources.
  569         (f)The local program office shall negotiate and maintain
  570  an interagency agreement with each local school district in its
  571  service area pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities
  572  Education Act, 20 U.S.C. s. 1435(a)(10)(F). Each interagency
  573  agreement must be reviewed at least annually and updated upon
  574  review, if needed.
  575         Section 7. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 413.092,
  576  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  577         413.092 Blind Babies Program.—
  578         (1) The Blind Babies Program is created within the Division
  579  of Blind Services of the Department of Education to provide
  580  community-based early-intervention education to children from
  581  birth through 5 years of age who are blind or visually impaired,
  582  and to their parents, families, and caregivers, through
  583  community-based provider organizations. The division shall
  584  enlist parents, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, schools, the
  585  Early Steps Program Infant and Toddlers Early Intervention
  586  Programs, and therapists to help identify and enroll blind and
  587  visually impaired children, as well as their parents, families,
  588  and caregivers, in these educational programs.
  589         (2) The program is not an entitlement but shall promote
  590  early development with a special emphasis on vision skills to
  591  minimize developmental delays. The education shall lay the
  592  groundwork for future learning by helping a child progress
  593  through normal developmental stages. It shall teach children to
  594  discover and make the best use of their skills for future
  595  success in school. It shall seek to ensure that visually
  596  impaired and blind children enter school as ready to learn as
  597  their sighted classmates. The program shall seek to link these
  598  children, and their parents, families, and caregivers, to other
  599  available services, training, education, and employment programs
  600  that could assist these families in the future. This linkage may
  601  include referrals to the school districts and the Early Steps
  602  Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Program for assessments
  603  to identify any additional services needed which are not
  604  provided by the Blind Babies Program. The division shall develop
  605  a formula for eligibility based on financial means and may
  606  create a means-based matrix to set a copayment fee for families
  607  having sufficient financial means.
  608         Section 8. Subsection (1) of section 1003.575, Florida
  609  Statutes, is amended to read:
  610         1003.575 Assistive technology devices; findings;
  611  interagency agreements.—Accessibility, utilization, and
  612  coordination of appropriate assistive technology devices and
  613  services are essential as a young person with disabilities moves
  614  from early intervention to preschool, from preschool to school,
  615  from one school to another, and from school to employment or
  616  independent living. If an individual education plan team makes a
  617  recommendation in accordance with State Board of Education rule
  618  for a student with a disability, as defined in s. 1003.01(3), to
  619  receive an assistive technology assessment, that assessment must
  620  be completed within 60 school days after the team’s
  621  recommendation. To ensure that an assistive technology device
  622  issued to a young person as part of his or her individualized
  623  family support plan, individual support plan, or an individual
  624  education plan remains with the individual through such
  625  transitions, the following agencies shall enter into interagency
  626  agreements, as appropriate, to ensure the transaction of
  627  assistive technology devices:
  628         (1) The Early Steps Florida Infants and Toddlers Early
  629  Intervention Program in the Division of Children’s Medical
  630  Services of the Department of Health.
  632  Interagency agreements entered into pursuant to this section
  633  shall provide a framework for ensuring that young persons with
  634  disabilities and their families, educators, and employers are
  635  informed about the utilization and coordination of assistive
  636  technology devices and services that may assist in meeting
  637  transition needs, and shall establish a mechanism by which a
  638  young person or his or her parent may request that an assistive
  639  technology device remain with the young person as he or she
  640  moves through the continuum from home to school to postschool.
  641         Section 9. Section 391.303, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  642         Section 10. Section 391.304, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  643         Section 11. Section 391.305, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  644         Section 12. Section 391.306, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  645         Section 13. Section 391.307, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  646         Section 14. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.