Florida Senate - 2016                             CS for SB 7034
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Children, Families, and
       Elder Affairs
       576-03004-16                                          20167034c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to prenatal services and early
    3         childhood development; amending s. 383.141, F.S.;
    4         revising the requirements for the Department of Health
    5         to maintain a clearinghouse of information for parents
    6         and health care providers and to increase public
    7         awareness of developmental evaluation and early
    8         intervention programs; requiring the clearinghouse to
    9         use a specified term; revising the information to be
   10         included in the clearinghouse; amending s. 391.025,
   11         F.S.; renaming the “Infants and Toddlers Early
   12         Intervention Program” as the “Early Steps Program”;
   13         revising the components of the Children’s Medical
   14         Services program; amending s. 391.026, F.S.; requiring
   15         the department to serve as the lead agency in
   16         administering the Early Steps Program; amending s.
   17         391.301, F.S.; establishing the Early Steps Program
   18         within the department; deleting provisions relating to
   19         legislative findings; authorizing the program to
   20         include certain screening and referral services for
   21         specified purposes; providing requirements and
   22         responsibilities for the program; amending s. 391.302,
   23         F.S.; defining terms; revising the definitions of
   24         certain terms; deleting terms; amending s. 391.308,
   25         F.S.; renaming the “Infants and Toddlers Early
   26         Intervention Program” as the “Early Steps Program”;
   27         requiring, rather than authorizing, the department to
   28         implement and administer the program; requiring the
   29         department to ensure that the program follows
   30         specified performance standards; providing
   31         requirements of the program to meet such performance
   32         standards; revising the duties of the department;
   33         requiring the department to apply specified
   34         eligibility criteria for the program based on an
   35         appropriation of funds; providing duties for local
   36         program offices; requiring the local program office to
   37         negotiate and maintain agreements with specified
   38         providers and managed care organizations; requiring
   39         the development of an individualized family support
   40         plan for each child served in the program; requiring
   41         the local program office to coordinate with managed
   42         care organizations; requiring the department to submit
   43         an annual report, subject to certain requirements, to
   44         the Governor, the Legislature, and the Florida
   45         Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and
   46         Toddlers by a specified date; designating the Florida
   47         Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and
   48         Toddlers as the state interagency coordinating council
   49         required by federal rule subject to certain
   50         requirements; providing requirements for the local
   51         program office and local school district to prepare
   52         certain children for the transition to school under
   53         certain circumstances; amending ss. 413.092 and
   54         1003.575, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made
   55         by the act; repealing ss. 391.303, 391.304, 391.305,
   56         391.306, and 391.307, F.S., relating to requirements
   57         for the Children’s Medical Services program, program
   58         coordination, program standards, program funding and
   59         contracts, and program review, respectively; providing
   60         an effective date.
   62  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   64         Section 1. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 383.141,
   65  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   66         383.141 Prenatally diagnosed conditions; patient to be
   67  provided information; definitions; information clearinghouse;
   68  advisory council.—
   69         (2) When a developmental disability is diagnosed based on
   70  the results of a prenatal test, the health care provider who
   71  ordered the prenatal test, or his or her designee, shall provide
   72  the patient with current information about the nature of the
   73  developmental disability, the accuracy of the prenatal test, and
   74  resources for obtaining relevant support services, including
   75  hotlines, resource centers, and information clearinghouses
   76  related to Down syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed
   77  developmental disabilities; support programs for parents and
   78  families; and developmental evaluation and intervention services
   79  under this part s. 391.303.
   80         (3) The Department of Health shall develop and implement a
   81  comprehensive information clearinghouse to educate health care
   82  providers, inform parents, and increase public awareness
   83  regarding brain development, developmental disabilities and
   84  delays, and all services, resources, and interventions available
   85  to mitigate the effects of impaired development among children.
   86  The clearinghouse must use the term “unique abilities” as much
   87  as possible when identifying infants or children with
   88  developmental disabilities and delays. The clearinghouse must
   89  provide:
   90         (a)Health information on conditions that may lead to
   91  impaired development of physical, learning, language, or
   92  behavioral skills.
   93         (b)Education and information to support parents whose
   94  unborn children have been prenatally diagnosed with
   95  developmental disabilities or whose children have diagnosed or
   96  suspected developmental delays.
   97         (c) Education and training for health care providers to
   98  recognize and respond appropriately to developmental
   99  disabilities, delays, and conditions related to disabilities or
  100  delays. Specific information approved by the advisory council
  101  shall be made available to health care providers for use in
  102  counseling parents whose unborn children have been prenatally
  103  diagnosed with developmental disabilities or whose children have
  104  diagnosed or suspected developmental delays.
  105         (d) Promotion of public awareness of availability of
  106  supportive services, such as resource centers, educational
  107  programs, other support programs for parents and families, and
  108  developmental evaluation and intervention services.
  109         (e) Hotlines specific to Down syndrome and other prenatally
  110  diagnosed developmental disabilities. The hotlines and the
  111  department’s clearinghouse must provide information to parents
  112  and families or other caregivers regarding the Early Steps
  113  Program under s. 391.301, the Florida Diagnostic and Learning
  114  Resources System, the Early Learning program, Healthy Start,
  115  Help Me Grow, and any other intervention programs. Information
  116  offered must include directions on how to obtain early
  117  intervention, rehabilitative, and habilitative services and
  118  devices establish on its Internet website a clearinghouse of
  119  information related to developmental disabilities concerning
  120  providers of supportive services, information hotlines specific
  121  to Down syndrome and other prenatally diagnosed developmental
  122  disabilities, resource centers, educational programs, other
  123  support programs for parents and families, and developmental
  124  evaluation and intervention services under s. 391.303. Such
  125  information shall be made available to health care providers for
  126  use in counseling pregnant women whose unborn children have been
  127  prenatally diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
  128         (4)(a) There is established an advisory council within the
  129  Department of Health which consists of health care providers and
  130  caregivers who perform health care services for persons who have
  131  developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome and autism.
  132  This group shall consist of nine members as follows:
  133         1. Three members appointed by the Governor;
  134         2. Three members appointed by the President of the Senate;
  135  and
  136         3. Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House of
  137  Representatives.
  138         (b) The advisory council shall provide technical assistance
  139  to the Department of Health in the establishment of the
  140  information clearinghouse and give the department the benefit of
  141  the council members’ knowledge and experience relating to the
  142  needs of patients and families of patients with developmental
  143  disabilities and available support services.
  144         (c) Members of the council shall elect a chairperson and a
  145  vice chairperson. The elected chairperson and vice chairperson
  146  shall serve in these roles until their terms of appointment on
  147  the council expire.
  148         (d) The advisory council shall meet quarterly to review
  149  this clearinghouse of information, and may meet more often at
  150  the call of the chairperson or as determined by a majority of
  151  members.
  152         (e) The council members shall be appointed to 4-year terms,
  153  except that, to provide for staggered terms, one initial
  154  appointee each from the Governor, the President of the Senate,
  155  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be
  156  appointed to a 2-year term, one appointee each from these
  157  officials shall be appointed to a 3-year term, and the remaining
  158  initial appointees shall be appointed to 4-year terms. All
  159  subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. A vacancy
  160  shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the
  161  same manner as the original appointment.
  162         (f) Members of the council shall serve without
  163  compensation. Meetings of the council may be held in person,
  164  without reimbursement for travel expenses, or by teleconference
  165  or other electronic means.
  166         (g) The Department of Health shall provide administrative
  167  support for the advisory council.
  168         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
  169  391.025, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  170         391.025 Applicability and scope.—
  171         (1) The Children’s Medical Services program consists of the
  172  following components:
  173         (c) The developmental evaluation and intervention program,
  174  including the Early Steps Florida Infants and Toddlers Early
  175  Intervention Program.
  176         Section 3. Subsection (19) is added to section 391.026,
  177  Florida Statutes, to read:
  178         391.026 Powers and duties of the department.—The department
  179  shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities:
  180         (19) To serve as the lead agency in administering the Early
  181  Steps Program pursuant to part C of the federal Individuals with
  182  Disabilities Education Act and part III of this chapter.
  183         Section 4. Section 391.301, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  184  read:
  185         391.301 Early Steps Program; establishment and goals
  186  Developmental evaluation and intervention programs; legislative
  187  findings and intent.—
  188         (1) The Early Steps Program is established within the
  189  department to serve infants and toddlers who are at risk of
  190  developmental disabilities based on a physical or mental
  191  condition and infants and toddlers with developmental delays by
  192  providing developmental evaluation and early intervention and by
  193  providing families with training and support services in a
  194  variety of home and community settings in order to enhance
  195  family and caregiver competence, confidence, and capacity to
  196  meet their child’s developmental needs and desired outcomes. The
  197  Legislature finds that the high-risk and disabled newborn
  198  infants in this state need in-hospital and outpatient
  199  developmental evaluation and intervention and that their
  200  families need training and support services. The Legislature
  201  further finds that there is an identifiable and increasing
  202  number of infants who need developmental evaluation and
  203  intervention and family support due to the fact that increased
  204  numbers of low-birthweight and sick full-term newborn infants
  205  are now surviving because of the advances in neonatal intensive
  206  care medicine; increased numbers of medically involved infants
  207  are remaining inappropriately in hospitals because their parents
  208  lack the confidence or skills to care for these infants without
  209  support; and increased numbers of infants are at risk due to
  210  parent risk factors, such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancy,
  211  and other high-risk conditions.
  212         (2) The program may include screening and referral It is
  213  the intent of the Legislature to establish developmental
  214  evaluation and intervention services at all hospitals providing
  215  Level II or Level III neonatal intensive care services, in order
  216  to promptly identify newborns with disabilities or with
  217  conditions associated with risks of developmental delays so that
  218  families with high-risk or disabled infants may gain as early as
  219  possible the services and skills they need to support their
  220  infants’ development infants.
  221         (3) The program must It is the intent of the Legislature
  222  that a methodology be developed to integrate information and
  223  coordinate services on infants with potentially disabling
  224  conditions with other programs serving infants and toddlers
  225  early intervention programs, including, but not limited to, Part
  226  C of Pub. L. No. 105-17 and the Healthy Start program, the
  227  newborn screening program, and the Blind Babies Program.
  228         (4) The program must:
  229         (a) Provide services to enhance the development of infants
  230  and toddlers with disabilities and delays.
  231         (b)Expand the recognition by health care providers,
  232  families, and the public of the significant brain development
  233  that occurs during a child’s first 3 years of life.
  234         (c)Maintain the importance of the family in all areas of
  235  the child’s development and support the family’s participation
  236  in early intervention services and decisions affecting the
  237  child.
  238         (d)Operate a comprehensive, coordinated interagency system
  239  of early intervention services and supports in accordance with
  240  part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education
  241  Act.
  242         (e)Ensure timely evaluation, individual planning, and
  243  early intervention services necessary to meet the unique needs
  244  of eligible infants and toddlers.
  245         (f)Build the service capacity and enhance the competencies
  246  of health care providers serving infants and toddlers with
  247  unique needs and abilities.
  248         (g)Ensure programmatic and fiscal accountability through
  249  establishment of a high-capacity data system, active monitoring
  250  of performance indicators, and ongoing quality improvement.
  251         Section 5. Section 391.302, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  252  read:
  253         391.302 Definitions.—As used in ss. 391.301-391.308 ss.
  254  391.301-391.307, the term:
  255         (1) “Developmental delay” means a condition, identified and
  256  measured through appropriate instruments and procedures, which
  257  may delay physical, cognitive, communication, social or
  258  emotional, or adaptive development.
  259         (2) “Developmental disability” means a condition,
  260  identified and measured through appropriate instruments and
  261  procedures, which may impair physical, cognitive, communication,
  262  social or emotional, or adaptive development.
  263         (3) “Developmental intervention” or “early intervention”
  264  means individual and group individualized therapies and services
  265  needed to enhance both the infant’s or toddler’s growth and
  266  development and family functioning. The term includes
  267  habilitative services and assistive technology devices,
  268  rehabilitative services and assistive technology devices, and
  269  parent support and training.
  270         (4) “Habilitative services and devices” means health care
  271  services and assistive technology devices that help a child
  272  maintain, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily
  273  living.
  274         (5)(2) “Infant or toddler” or “child” means a child from
  275  birth until the child’s third birthday.
  276         (3) “In-hospital intervention services” means the provision
  277  of assessments; the provision of individualized services;
  278  monitoring and modifying the delivery of medical interventions;
  279  and enhancing the environment for the high-risk, developmentally
  280  disabled, or medically involved infant or toddler in order to
  281  achieve optimum growth and development.
  282         (6) “Local program office” means an office that administers
  283  the Early Steps Program within a municipality, county, or
  284  region.
  285         (4) “Parent support and training” means a range of services
  286  to families of high-risk, developmentally disabled, or medically
  287  involved infants or toddlers, including family counseling;
  288  financial planning; agency referral; development of parent-to
  289  parent support groups; education concerning growth, development,
  290  and developmental intervention and objective measurable skills,
  291  including abuse avoidance skills; training of parents to
  292  advocate for their child; and bereavement counseling.
  293         (7) “Rehabilitative services and devices” means restorative
  294  and remedial services that maintain or enhance the current level
  295  of functioning of a child if there is a possibility of
  296  improvement or reversal of impairment.
  297         Section 6. Section 391.308, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  298  read:
  299         391.308 Early Steps Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention
  300  Program.—The department shall Department of Health may implement
  301  and administer part C of the federal Individuals with
  302  Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which shall be known as the
  303  Early Steps “Florida Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention
  304  Program.”
  305         (1) PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.—The department shall ensure that
  306  the Early Steps Program complies with the following performance
  307  standards:
  308         (a)The program must provide services from referral through
  309  transition in a family-centered manner that recognizes and
  310  responds to unique circumstances and needs of infants and
  311  toddlers and their families as measured by a variety of
  312  qualitative data, including satisfaction surveys, interviews,
  313  focus groups, and input from stakeholders.
  314         (b)The program must provide individualized family support
  315  plans that are understandable and usable by families, health
  316  care providers, and payers and that identify the current level
  317  of functioning of the infant or toddler, family supports and
  318  resources, expected outcomes, and specific early intervention
  319  services needed to achieve the expected outcomes, as measured by
  320  periodic system independent evaluation.
  321         (c)The program must help each family to use available
  322  resources in a way that maximizes the child’s access to services
  323  necessary to achieve the outcomes of the individualized family
  324  support plan, as measured by family feedback and by independent
  325  assessments of services used by each child.
  326         (d)The program must offer families access to quality
  327  services that effectively enable infants and toddlers with
  328  developmental disabilities and developmental delays to achieve
  329  optimal functional levels as measured by an independent
  330  evaluation of outcome indicators in social or emotional skills,
  331  communication, and adaptive behaviors.
  332         (2) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.—The department, shall:
  333         (a)Jointly with the Department of Education, shall
  334  Annually prepare a grant application to the United States
  335  Department of Education for funding early intervention services
  336  for infants and toddlers with disabilities, from birth through
  337  36 months of age, and their families pursuant to part C of the
  338  federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  339         (b)(2)The department, Jointly with the Department of
  340  Education, provide shall include a reading initiative as an
  341  early intervention service for infants and toddlers.
  342         (c) Annually develop a state plan for the Early Steps
  343  Program.
  344         1. The plan must assess the need for early intervention
  345  services, evaluate the extent of the statewide need that is met
  346  by the program, identify barriers to fully meeting the need, and
  347  recommend specific action steps to improve program performance.
  348         2. The plan must be developed through an inclusive process
  349  that involves families, local program offices, health care
  350  providers, and other stakeholders.
  351         (d)Ensure local program offices educate hospitals that
  352  provide Level II and Level III neonatal intensive care services
  353  about the Early Steps Program and the referral process for the
  354  provision of developmental evaluation and intervention services.
  355         (e) Establish standards and qualifications for
  356  developmental evaluation and early intervention service
  357  providers, including standards for determining the adequacy of
  358  provider networks in each local program office service area.
  359         (f) Establish statewide uniform protocols and procedures to
  360  determine eligibility for developmental evaluation and early
  361  intervention services.
  362         (g) Establish a consistent, statewide format and procedure
  363  for preparing and completing an individualized family support
  364  plan.
  365         (h)Promote interagency cooperation and coordination, with
  366  the Medicaid program, the Department of Education program
  367  pursuant to part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities
  368  Education Act, and programs providing child screening such as
  369  the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System, the Office
  370  of Early Learning, Healthy Start, and the Help Me Grow program.
  371         1. Coordination with the Medicaid program shall be
  372  developed and maintained through written agreements with the
  373  Agency for Health Care Administration and Medicaid managed care
  374  organizations as well as through active and ongoing
  375  communication with these organizations. The department shall
  376  assist local program offices to negotiate agreements with
  377  Medicaid managed care organizations in the service areas of the
  378  local program offices. Such agreements may be formal or
  379  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 payer
  388  types.
  389         (j) Provide a mediation process and if necessary, an
  390  appeals process for applicants found ineligible for
  391  developmental evaluation or early intervention services or
  392  denied financial support for such services.
  393         (k)Competitively procure local program offices to provide
  394  services throughout the state in accordance with chapter 287.
  395  The department shall specify the requirements and qualifications
  396  for local program offices in the procurement document.
  397         (l) Establish performance standards and other metrics for
  398  evaluation of local program offices, including standards for
  399  measuring timeliness of services, outcomes of early intervention
  400  services, and administrative efficiency. Performance standards
  401  and metrics shall be developed in consultation with local
  402  program offices.
  403         (m) Provide technical assistance to the local program
  404  offices.
  405         (3) ELIGIBILITY.—The department shall apply the following
  406  eligibility criteria if specific funding is provided, and the
  407  associated applicable eligibility criteria are identified, in
  408  the General Appropriations Act:
  409         (a) Infants and toddlers are eligible for an evaluation to
  410  determine the presence of a developmental disability or the risk
  411  of a developmental delay based on a physical or medical
  412  condition.
  413         (b) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
  414  delay based on informed clinical opinion and an evaluation using
  415  a standard evaluation instrument which results in a score that
  416  is 1.5 standard deviations from the mean in two or more of the
  417  following domains: physical, cognitive, communication, social or
  418  emotional, and adaptive.
  419         (c) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
  420  delay based on informed clinical opinion and an evaluation using
  421  a standard evaluation instrument which results in a score that
  422  is 2.0 standard deviations from the mean in one of the following
  423  domains: physical, cognitive, communication, social or
  424  emotional, and adaptive.
  425         (d) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
  426  delay based on informed clinical opinion and an evaluation using
  427  a standard evaluation instrument which results in a score that
  428  is 1.5 standard deviations from the mean in one or more of the
  429  following domains: physical, cognitive, communication, social or
  430  emotional, and adaptive.
  431         (e) Infants and toddlers determined to have a developmental
  432  delay based on informed clinical opinion.
  433         (f) Infants and toddlers at risk of developmental delay
  434  based on an established condition known to result in
  435  developmental delay, or a physical or mental condition known to
  436  create a risk of developmental delay.
  437         (4) DUTIES OF THE LOCAL PROGRAM OFFICES.—A local program
  438  office shall:
  439         (a)Evaluate a child to determine eligibility within 45
  440  calendar days after the child is referred to the program.
  441         (b)Notify the parent or legal guardian of his or her
  442  child’s eligibility status initially and at least annually
  443  thereafter. If a child is determined not to be eligible, the
  444  local program office must provide the parent or legal guardian
  445  with written information on the right to an appeal and the
  446  process for making such an appeal.
  447         (c) Secure and maintain interagency agreements or contracts
  448  with local school districts in a local service area.
  449         (d) Provide services directly or procure services from
  450  health care providers that meet or exceed the minimum
  451  qualifications established for service providers. The local
  452  program office must become a Medicaid provider if it provides
  453  services directly.
  454         (e) Provide directly or procure services that are, to the
  455  extent possible, delivered in a child’s natural environment,
  456  such as in the child’s home or community setting. The inability
  457  to provide services in the natural environment is not a
  458  sufficient reason to deny services.
  459         (f) Develop an individualized family support plan for each
  460  child served. The plan must:
  461         1. Be completed within 45 calendar days after the child is
  462  referred to the program;
  463         2. Be developed in conjunction with the child’s parent or
  464  legal guardian who provides written consent for the services
  465  included in the plan;
  466         3. Be reviewed at least every 6 months with the parent or
  467  legal guardian and updated if needed; and
  468         4. Include steps to transition to school or other future
  469  services by the child’s third birthday.
  470         (g) Assess the progress of the child and his or her family
  471  in meeting the goals of the individualized family support plan.
  472         (h) For each service required by the individualized family
  473  support plan, refer the child to an appropriate service provider
  474  or work with Medicaid managed care organizations or private
  475  insurers to secure the needed services.
  476         (i) Provide service coordination, including contacting the
  477  appropriate service provider to determine whether the provider
  478  can timely deliver the service, providing the parent or legal
  479  guardian with the name and contact information of the service
  480  provider and the date and location of the service of any
  481  appointment made on behalf of the child, and contacting the
  482  parent or legal guardian after the service is provided to ensure
  483  that the service is timely delivered and to determine whether
  484  the family requests additional services.
  485         (j) Negotiate and maintain agreements with Medicaid
  486  providers and Medicaid managed care organizations in its area.
  487         1. With the parent’s or legal guardian’s permission, the
  488  services in the child’s approved individualized family support
  489  plan shall be communicated to the Medicaid managed care
  490  organization. Services that cannot be funded by Medicaid must be
  491  specifically identified and explained to the family.
  492         2. The agreement between the local program office and
  493  Medicaid managed care organizations must establish methods of
  494  communication and procedures for the timely approval of services
  495  covered by Medicaid.
  496         (k) Develop agreements and arrangements with private
  497  insurers in order to coordinate benefits and services for any
  498  mutual enrollee.
  499         1. The child’s approved individualized family support plan
  500  may be communicated to the child’s insurer with the parent’s or
  501  legal guardian’s permission.
  502         2. The local program office and private insurers shall
  503  establish methods of communication and procedures for the timely
  504  approval of services covered by the child’s insurer, if
  505  appropriate and approved by the child’s parent or legal
  506  guardian.
  507         (l)Provide to the department data necessary for an
  508  evaluation of the local program office performance.
  509         (5)ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTING.—By December 1 of each year,
  510  the department shall prepare and submit a report that assesses
  511  the performance of the Early Steps Program to the Governor, the
  512  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  513  Representatives, and the Florida Interagency Coordinating
  514  Council for Infants and Toddlers. The department must address
  515  the performance standards in subsection (1) and report actual
  516  performance compared to the standards for the prior fiscal year.
  517  The data used to compile the report must be submitted by each
  518  local program office in the state. The department shall report
  519  on all of the following measures:
  520         (a) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers served
  521  with an individualized family support plan.
  522         (b) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers
  523  demonstrating improved social or emotional skills after the
  524  program.
  525         (c) Number and percentage of infants and toddlers
  526  demonstrating improved use of knowledge and cognitive skills
  527  after the program.
  528         (d) Number and percentage of families reporting positive
  529  outcomes in their infant’s and toddler’s development as a result
  530  of early intervention services.
  531         (e) Progress toward meeting the goals of individualized
  532  family support plans.
  533         (f) Any additional measures established by the department.
  535  Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers shall
  536  serve as the state interagency coordinating council required by
  537  34 C.F.R. s. 303.600. The council shall be housed for
  538  administrative purposes in the department, and the department
  539  shall provide administrative support to the council.
  540         (7)TRANSITION TO EDUCATION.—
  541         (a)At least 90 days before a child reaches 3 years of age,
  542  the local program office shall initiate transition planning to
  543  ensure the child’s successful transition from the Early Steps
  544  Program to a school district program for children with
  545  disabilities or to another program as part of an individual
  546  family support plan.
  547         (b) At least 90 days before a child reaches 3 years of age,
  548  the local program office shall:
  549         1. Notify the local school district in which the child
  550  resides and the Department of Education that the child may be
  551  eligible for special education or related services as determined
  552  by the local school district pursuant to ss. 1003.21 and
  553  1003.57, unless the child’s parent or legal guardian has opted
  554  out of such notification; and
  555         2.Upon approval by the child’s parent or legal guardian,
  556  convene a transition conference that includes participation of a
  557  local school district representative and the parent or legal
  558  guardian to discuss options for and availability of services.
  559         (c) The local school district shall evaluate and determine
  560  a child’s eligibility to receive special education or related
  561  services pursuant to part B of the federal Individuals with
  562  Disabilities Education Act and ss. 1003.21 and 1003.57.
  563         (d)The local program office, in conjunction with the local
  564  school district, shall modify a child’s individual family
  565  support plan or, if applicable, the local school district shall
  566  develop an individual education plan for the child pursuant to
  567  ss. 1003.57, 1003.571, and 1003.5715, which identifies special
  568  education or related services that the child will receive and
  569  the providers or agencies that will provide such services.
  570         (e) If a child is determined to be ineligible for school
  571  district program services, the local program office and the
  572  local school district shall provide the child’s parent or legal
  573  guardian with written information on other available services or
  574  community resources.
  575         (f)The local program office shall negotiate and maintain
  576  an interagency agreement with each local school district in its
  577  service area pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities
  578  Education Act, 20 U.S.C. s. 1435(a)(10)(F). Each interagency
  579  agreement must be reviewed at least annually and updated upon
  580  review, if needed.
  581         Section 7. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 413.092,
  582  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  583         413.092 Blind Babies Program.—
  584         (1) The Blind Babies Program is created within the Division
  585  of Blind Services of the Department of Education to provide
  586  community-based early-intervention education to children from
  587  birth through 5 years of age who are blind or visually impaired,
  588  and to their parents, families, and caregivers, through
  589  community-based provider organizations. The division shall
  590  enlist parents, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, schools, the
  591  Early Steps Program Infant and Toddlers Early Intervention
  592  Programs, and therapists to help identify and enroll blind and
  593  visually impaired children, as well as their parents, families,
  594  and caregivers, in these educational programs.
  595         (2) The program is not an entitlement but shall promote
  596  early development with a special emphasis on vision skills to
  597  minimize developmental delays. The education shall lay the
  598  groundwork for future learning by helping a child progress
  599  through normal developmental stages. It shall teach children to
  600  discover and make the best use of their skills for future
  601  success in school. It shall seek to ensure that visually
  602  impaired and blind children enter school as ready to learn as
  603  their sighted classmates. The program shall seek to link these
  604  children, and their parents, families, and caregivers, to other
  605  available services, training, education, and employment programs
  606  that could assist these families in the future. This linkage may
  607  include referrals to the school districts and the Early Steps
  608  Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Program for assessments
  609  to identify any additional services needed which are not
  610  provided by the Blind Babies Program. The division shall develop
  611  a formula for eligibility based on financial means and may
  612  create a means-based matrix to set a copayment fee for families
  613  having sufficient financial means.
  614         Section 8. Subsection (1) of section 1003.575, Florida
  615  Statutes, is amended to read:
  616         1003.575 Assistive technology devices; findings;
  617  interagency agreements.—Accessibility, utilization, and
  618  coordination of appropriate assistive technology devices and
  619  services are essential as a young person with disabilities moves
  620  from early intervention to preschool, from preschool to school,
  621  from one school to another, and from school to employment or
  622  independent living. If an individual education plan team makes a
  623  recommendation in accordance with State Board of Education rule
  624  for a student with a disability, as defined in s. 1003.01(3), to
  625  receive an assistive technology assessment, that assessment must
  626  be completed within 60 school days after the team’s
  627  recommendation. To ensure that an assistive technology device
  628  issued to a young person as part of his or her individualized
  629  family support plan, individual support plan, or an individual
  630  education plan remains with the individual through such
  631  transitions, the following agencies shall enter into interagency
  632  agreements, as appropriate, to ensure the transaction of
  633  assistive technology devices:
  634         (1) The Early Steps Florida Infants and Toddlers Early
  635  Intervention Program in the Division of Children’s Medical
  636  Services of the Department of Health.
  638  Interagency agreements entered into pursuant to this section
  639  shall provide a framework for ensuring that young persons with
  640  disabilities and their families, educators, and employers are
  641  informed about the utilization and coordination of assistive
  642  technology devices and services that may assist in meeting
  643  transition needs, and shall establish a mechanism by which a
  644  young person or his or her parent may request that an assistive
  645  technology device remain with the young person as he or she
  646  moves through the continuum from home to school to postschool.
  647         Section 9. Section 391.303, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  648         Section 10. Section 391.304, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  649         Section 11. Section 391.305, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  650         Section 12. Section 391.306, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  651         Section 13. Section 391.307, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  652         Section 14. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.