Version 21, Issue 4
April 5, 2021
Keeping an eye on Florida’s Early Steps Funding
The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council has a proud history of supporting Florida’s Federal Part C Program called Early Steps. In the past, the Council has worked with Early Steps to initiate projects that would increase the capacity of this early intervention program. The Council has since turned to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood and into post- secondary opportunities or job training programs. But even though the Council’s attention has turned to older children, they know that children who have had good quality early intervention services in their early years, can make the most of transitional education programs as they proceed towards high school graduation and beyond.
Each child grows at an individual pace, but research shows that a child's first three years are the most important time for learning. Getting help early puts a child on the right path to learn and develop to their full potential.
Early Steps offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop.
The Council continues to educate lawmakers about the value of this financial investment in Florida’s children with delays or disabilities in their earliest years. This year, the Council, the Governor and the Florida Consortium of Advocates for Infants and Toddlers recommend funding the $2.3 million in budget authority needed to pull down Federal funding.
April 6, 2021 Volume 21, Issue 4
- This bill revises provisions of law relating to guardianship and alternatives to guardianship. The bill creates a process for supported decisionmaking (SDM), including providing requirements for court, guardian petition, supported decisionmaking agreement, decisionmaker and supporter, and educational agencies. Parents of children with disabilities are often told they need to seek guardianship as soon as their child turns 18. Florida law states that you cannot put someone under guardianship if there is a “less restrictive” alternative, but the law does not offer a meaningful alternative. This proposed legislation would list alternatives to guardianship in Florida Statute, including SDM and ensure judges have the information they need to protect people with disabilities.
The bill would require anyone trying to put another person under guardianship or guardian advocacy to show why an alternative, including SDM, will not work. Effective Date: July 1, 2021. The Council is supporting this proposed legislation.
02/02/21 HOUSE Filed.
02/18/21 HOUSE Referred to Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee; Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee; Health & Human Services Committee
HOUSE Now in Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee
02/10/21 SENATE Referred to Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; Appropriations; Rules _______________________________________________________________________________________________
This bill requires the Department of Law Enforcement, in cooperation with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department of the Lottery, and local law enforcement agencies, to establish and implement the Purple Alert; requiring the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to notify media and alert subscribers if a Purple Alert is determined to be necessary and appropriate. The bill provides that the Department of Law Enforcement, as the Purple Alert coordinator, and certain agencies, employees, individuals, and entities are immune from civil liability for damages when performing certain actions in good faith. This bill is another avenue to prevent drowning and other accidents that can happen when someone with verified cognitive challenges and history wanders from their home. Effective Date: Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act and except for this section, which shall take effect July 1, 2021, this act shall take effect July 1, 2022.
The Council is supporting this proposed legislation.
12/04/20 SENATE Filed.
12/15/20 SENATE Referred to Transportation; Children, Families, and Elder Affairs;
02/02/21 SENATE Favorable with CS by Transportation; 7 Yeas, 0 Nays
02/03/21 SENATE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed
02/16/21 SENATE Favorable by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; 8 Yeas, 0 Nays
SENATE Now in Appropriations
03/24/21 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Judiciary Committee; 17 Yeas, 0 Nays
HOUSE Committee Substitute Text (C2) Filed
03/26/21 HOUSE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading
This bill revises the timeline for development and implementation of a student’s individual education plan (IEP) for transition services for student with disabilities to postsecondary education and career opportunities. The bill proposes an earlier timeline to assure that a path has been started before high school. Another part of the bill provides for clarity regarding a component that the Council thinks it is critical to help parents of children with disabilities understand what graduating at age 18 with a standard diploma means. Students often lose access to three years of services they would otherwise be entitled to receive if they do not defer graduation. Also, there are programs that are available only to students who do graduate at age 18. Parents and their children need to understand the differences. Effective Date: July 1, 2021.The Council is supporting this bill.
01/06/21 HOUSE Filed.
01/20/21 HOUSE Referred to Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee; PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee; Education & Employment Committee
03/12/21 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Secondary Education & Career Development
Subcommittee; 17 Yeas, 0 Nays
HOUSE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed
03/16/21 HOUSE Reference to PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee removed
Remaining reference: Education & Employment Committee
03/24/21 HOUSE Favorable with CS by Education & Employment Committee; 21 Yeas, 0
03/25/21 HOUSE Committee Substitute Text (C2) Filed
03/29/21 HOUSE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading.
03/17/21 SENATE Subcommittee on Education; 8 Yeas, 0 Nays
03/18/21 SENATE Now in Appropriations
This bill requires school districts to prohibit the use of seclusion on students with disabilities in public schools and requires school districts to adopt positive behavior interventions and supports. The bill creates the Video Cameras in Public School Classrooms Pilot Program and requires continuing education and in-service training for instructional personnel teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities. Effective Date: 7/1/2021. The Council will only support this bill if it prohibits the use of mechanical restraints that are not prescribed by a doctor. Currently the bill endorses the use of handcuffs, straight jackets, zip ties and tie downs as long as they do not restrict blood circulation and breathing.
12/07/20 SENATE Filed.
12/15/20 SENATE Referred to Education, Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
3/23/21 SENATE Favorable with CS by Education; 9 Yeas, 0 Nays
03/25/21 SENATE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed
04/05/21 SENATE on Committee agenda - Appropriations Subcommittee on Education,
04/08/21, 11:30 am, 412 K
03/17/21 HOUSE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading.
This bill requires the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to provide specified written information to persons applying for iBudget waiver services, whether they are accepted, rejected or on the waitlist. Information includes state and local resources that will help individuals with disabilities and their families find out what is available to them especially around training and employment services. The resources do not guarantee admission into these programs. Effective Date: 7/1/2021. The Council is neutral on this bill.
01/21/21 SENATE Filed.
01/28/21 SENATE Referred to Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; Appropriations.
03/09/21 SENATE Favorable with CS by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; 8 Yeas, 0
03/10/21 SENATE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed
SENATE References to Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Appropriations removed; Reference to Rules added; Remaining reference: Rules.
SENATE Now in Rules
04/01/21 SENATE On Committee agenda - Rules, 04/06/21, 9:30 am, 412 K
03/22/21 HOUSE Placed on Calendar, on 2nd reading.
This bill revises definition of term "developmental disability."
This bill may be cited as “Diana’s Law”. It replaces the current statutory definition of
“developmental disability” with the definition of the term currently used in federal law.
Specifically, the bill defines a developmental disability as a severe, chronic disability of an
- Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical
- Is manifested before the individual attains age 22.
- Is likely to continue indefinitely.
- Results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life
o Receptive and expressive language.
o Capacity for independent living.
o Economic self-sufficiency; and
- Reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
The bill also provides that an individual from birth to age 9 who has a substantial developmental
delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental
disability without meeting three or more of the above criteria if the individual, without services
and supports, has a high probability of meeting such criteria later in life.
Effective Date: July 1, 2021. The Council is supporting this bill.
01/14/21 HOUSE Filed.
02/03/21 HOUSE Referred to Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee; Health & Human Services Committee
HOUSE Now in Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee
03/16/21 SENATE Favorable by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; 8 Yeas, 0 Nays
03/17/21 SENATE Now in Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services