RS 28:470     

§470. Louisiana State Interagency Coordinating Council for EarlySteps: Louisiana's Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and Their Families

            A. The Louisiana State Interagency Coordinating Council for EarlySteps: Louisiana's Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and Their Families is hereby created. All council members shall be appointed by the governor who shall also appoint the chairperson. No member of the council who is a representative of the department may serve as the chairperson of the council. At least twenty percent of the members shall be parents of infants or toddlers with disabilities or children with disabilities age twelve or younger, with knowledge of or experience with programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities; and at least twenty percent of the members shall be public or private providers of early intervention services.

            B. The council shall be comprised of the following members:

            (1) At least one member shall be a parent of either of the following:

            (a) An infant or toddler with disabilities.

            (b) A child with disabilities age six or younger.

            (2) At least one member shall be an elected member of the Louisiana Legislature.

            (3) At least one member shall be involved in the preparation and training of early intervention providers to become qualified to provide services.

            (4) Members in the number of one each from each state agency involved in the provision of or payment for early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, including Medicaid, and such members shall have sufficient authority to engage in policy planning and implementation on behalf of their respective agencies.

            (5) At least one member shall be from the office of the Louisiana Department of Education which is responsible for preschool services to children with disabilities and who shall have sufficient authority to engage in policy planning and implementation on behalf of such agency.

            (6) At least one member shall be from the Louisiana Department of Insurance.

            (7) At least one member shall be from a Head Start agency or program.

            (8) At least one member shall be from the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.

            (9) At least one member designated by the Louisiana Department of Education who is responsible for coordination of the education of homeless children and youth.

            (10) One member from the Department of Children and Family Services who is responsible for foster care.

            (11) One member from the Louisiana Department of Health, office of behavioral health.

            (12) Any other members duly appointed by the governor.

            C. The council shall meet at least quarterly and in such places as it deems necessary. The meetings shall be publicly announced and to the extent appropriate, open, and accessible to the general public.

            D.(1) Subject to the approval of the governor, the council may prepare and approve a budget using funds provided pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter to conduct hearings and forums; to reimburse members of the council for reasonable and necessary expenses, including child care for parent representatives, for attending council meetings, and performing council duties; and to pay compensation to a member of the council if the member is not employed or must forfeit wages from other employment when performing official council business.

            (2) The council shall use funds provided pursuant to this Chapter to hire an executive director who shall be responsible to and report directly to the council and the governor or his designee to carry out its functions pursuant to this Chapter. The executive director shall be hired as an unclassified employee of the office of the governor. The cost of maintaining the functions of the executive director and council shall be specified by an interagency agreement between the department and the office of the governor. The council may also use funds provided pursuant to this Chapter to obtain the services of other such professional, technical, and clerical personnel as may be necessary to carry out its functions as provided in this Chapter.

            E. The council shall have the following duties:

            (1) To advise and assist the department in the performance of responsibilities established pursuant to this Chapter, particularly the identification of sources of fiscal and other support for services for early intervention programs, assignment of financial responsibility to the appropriate agency, and the promotion of interagency agreements.

            (2) To advise and assist the department in the preparation of applications and amendments thereto.

            (3) To advise and assist the department relative to the transition of toddlers with disabilities to preschool and other appropriate services.

            (4) To prepare and submit an annual report to the governor and to the United States Secretary of Education on the status of early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families operated within the state.

            (5) The council may advise appropriate agencies in the state with respect to the integration of services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and at-risk infants and toddlers and their families, regardless of whether at-risk infants and toddlers are eligible for early intervention services in the state.

            (6) To prepare and submit an annual report to the Legislature of Louisiana on the status of the early intervention program of this state for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

            F. No member of the council shall cast a vote on any matter which would provide direct financial benefit to that member or otherwise give the appearance of a conflict of interest.

            Acts 2013, No. 417, §1, eff. June 21, 2013.