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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.274

Introduced by Senator Condos of Chittenden District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Education; autism spectrum disorders; pilot regional autism centers

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to develop and implement regional autism centers to provide lifelong support and services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and to their families.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE CREATION OF PILOT REGIONAL AUTISM CENTERS

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

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 2945a is added to read:

§ 2945a.  CREATING PILOT REGIONAL AUTISM CENTERS

(a)  The agency of human services, the department of education, and the department of labor shall cooperatively develop and implement a program creating at least two pilot regional autism centers geographically distributed across Vermont.  The agency and the departments shall identify a strategy for establishing the pilot centers and for ensuring the ongoing revenue necessary to support them.  They shall also establish an independent board of trustees for each pilot center and ensure that each center is incorporated as a nonprofit agency working in partnership with the state.  The agency of human services shall act as the lead agency in the development and implementation of these pilot centers. 

(b)  The pilot regional autism centers shall:

(1)  Create and provide a centralized, publicly available information system regarding evidence-based diagnostics, prognosis, options for treatment and education, available resources, parent support programs, and community activity programs in Vermont for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to their families. 

(2)  Provide consulting services to schools and other entities related to:

(A)  Individualized supports and services for individuals with ASD and for their families.

(B)  Systematic evidence-based instructional programs;

(C)  Comprehensive structured learning environments;

(D)  Specific curriculum content;

(E)  Functional approaches to behavioral issues;

(F)  Community and parent involvement; and

(G)  Other issues as requested.  

(3)  Assist schools to establish transitional service plans related to socialization, job training and employment, and independent living in a community-based format to assist individuals with ASD to move from school into the community.

(4)  Collaborate with the public and private entities responsible for providing community-based services to individuals with ASD who are 23 years old and older, to individuals with ASD who will soon be 23 years old, and to their families, including residential, medical, job training, and employment support services and socialization programs. 

(5)  Ensure that families of individuals with ASD have the training and support necessary to assume case management responsibilities if they desire to do so. 

(6)  Assist schools, colleges, and other entities to develop and implement the education and training programs necessary to ensure a sufficient number of well-trained and experienced staff for schools, health service entities, and social and housing agencies. 

Sec. 2.  IMPLEMENTATION

(a)  The agency of human services, in consultation with the department of education and the department of labor, may establish the pilot regional autism centers as entities of the state or, alternatively, may contract with one or more Vermont-based nonprofit entities to establish the centers. 

(b)  On or before January 15, 2009, the agency of human services shall file a written report with the house committees on education and on commerce and the senate committees on education and on economic development, housing, and general affairs outlining the details of the pilot regional autism centers required in Sec. 1 of this act.  The report shall include a proposed plan to implement additional centers across the state to ensure that services are available to individuals with ASD, their families, and the agencies serving them in an equitable manner. 

Sec. 3.  APPROPRIATION

The sum of $500,000.00 in fiscal year 2009 general fund dollars is appropriated to the secretary of human services to carry out the requirements of this act.

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us