House Bill 211 is a simple bill that has the potential to make a big difference for families of young children with disabilities.
State funding for developmental preschool and early intervention programs is based off a once a year enrollment count. These programs work with kids, ages zero to five who have disabilities, to help prepare them for school and life. House Bill 211 proposes pushing the date of that count from November 1 back to December 1.
Jaime Stine is the director of Child Development Services in Albany and Carbon counties. She said the biggest push for identifying kids happens once the school year begins. The assessment process for early intervention program enrollment can take several meetings, Stine explained and that means parents can feel pressured to get a lot done in a short period of time.
For Stine the change in date is about being respectful of working families. “They can’t constantly take time off -- maybe three weeks in row to come in and get their child signed up for services.” She said, “So to us moving that child count date is more about the families and being respectful of their time and their ability to take time off of work.”
Stine said her organization enrolls students year round and provides services whether they’ve received funding for a specific child or not. But the bill will help ensure developmental programs receive more reliable funding.
The House of Representatives passed the bill and moved it to the Senate for review.