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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.121

Introduced by Senator Collins of Franklin District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Education; autism

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require the agency of human services and the department of education to develop and implement a statewide initiative to sustain and enhance the system of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

AN ACT RELATING TO ENHANCING VERMONT'S SYSTEM OF CARE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  INTERAGENCY INITIATIVE TO ENHANCE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

(a)  ASD Initiative.  On or before November 15, 2007, the secretary of human services and the commissioner of education shall develop and begin implementation of a comprehensive initiative designed to sustain and enhance services provided by existing public and private entities to Vermonters with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families.  The agency of human services, through the department for children and families, the department of health, the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living, and VoRehab Vermont, shall assume primary responsibility for the initiative.  The secretary of human services and the commissioner of education shall enter into an interagency agreement detailing their respective responsibilities on or before August 15, 2007.  The initiative shall be fully implemented by November 15, 2012.  

(b)  Advisory council.  The governor shall appoint no more than seven individuals to service on the council, to include family members of individuals with ASD, experts in the area of ASD, and providers of developmental and mental health services.  The council will consult with and review the work of the agency and department in connection with the initiative.  The council shall report at least annually to the governor, the president pro tempore of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives.  The agency of human services shall provide administrative support to the council.  Members of the council shall receive no financial compensation for their service.

(c)  Services. 

(1)  The agency shall enter into contracts with existing and new public and private providers of developmental and mental health services to:

(A)  Expand the existing capacity for early and accurate diagnosis of ASD by making specialists available to all regions of the state.

(B)  Provide technical assistance and training to primary care physicians for screening protocols.

(C)  Provide training, technical assistance, and consultation to schools, local agencies, and other providers of developmental and mental health services.

(2)  The department of education shall:

(A)  Work with existing entities, such as the Vermont Interdisciplinary Team for Intensive Special Education, to expand their capacity to serve individuals with ASD and their families.

(B)  Award grants to parent resource centers and other parent organizations offering support to families of individuals with ASD to provide training and technical assistance, to maintain a web-based clearinghouse of resources and strategies for navigating provider services, and to create and expand support groups.

(3)  The agency, the department, or both, may enter into contracts with state or national experts to provide training required by this act.

(4)  The agency and department shall plan for the gradual development of model regional resource centers at existing developmental services or mental health provider locations, with satellite sites in other areas of the state.  The plan shall include detailed budget projections and estimated appropriation requirements for each year of implementation.  Payment for services may be structured so that some services are free to users, other services are offered at a state-subsidized rate, and other services are offered at cost.

(d)  Evaluation and report.  Annually, the agency and the department shall evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative, identify unmet needs, and modify the program to address the unmet needs.  The agency and the department shall file a written report of its evaluation to the governor, the house and senate committees on education, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services on or before January 15 of each year.

Sec. 2.  APPROPRIATION

(a)  The sum of $550,000.00 in fiscal year 2008 general funds is appropriated to the agency of human services to be used for the initial phase of implementation of the initiative required by this act, including training by state and national experts to create a network of providers throughout the state.

(b)  The sum of $400,000.00 in fiscal year 2008 general funds is appropriated to the department of education to be used for the initial phase of implementation of the initiative required by this act, including the establishment of parent resources.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us