Oregon's Legislative Session Starts Today  

On Monday, February 5, Oregon legislators will gather in Salem for the beginning of the 2018 Legislative Session. This will be a "short" session that lasts only five weeks. Oregon holds short sessions on even-numbered years to adjust the budget partway through the biennium and to tackle a few key policy bills.

This is a short 35 day session so there will be a lot happening very quickly.  The Alliance for Early Intervention will help you to be informed and engaged throughout the session.

Things are Moving Fast at the Capitol This Week!
 
Developmental Delay Extension Hearing This Thursday 

As you may know, developmental delay is an eligibility category for Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) that is not recognized as an eligibility category for K-12 special education services in Oregon. This lack of continuity between ECSE and K-12 can be detrimental for children who were served under the eligibility category in preschool and still need services in kindergarten.

EXTENDING THE DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY CATEGORY TO THIRD GRADE IS GOOD FOR KIDS

House Bill 4067 would extend the developmental delay eligibility category through third grade (up to age 10) to ensure children experiencing delays get the supports they need to thrive and succeed in kindergarten and throughout their academic careers.

It can be difficult to determine an underlying disability in the early years because young brains are developing at such a rapid pace. The lack of continuity between EI/ECSE and K-12 is detrimental for children who were served under the developmental delay eligibility category in preschool and still need services in kindergarten. Many children who lose developmental delay eligibility upon kindergarten entry are forced to struggle in challenging academic environments before they qualify for services again.

Approximately 200 Oregon children are in this challenging situation. Without supports, these children are left to fail and fall further behind their peers and ultimately miss third grade benchmarks and the enriching education all children deserve.

Often, children of color and children from low-income families and those experiencing poverty have delayed diagnoses. Without supports in kindergarten and beyond they face significant educational barriers to success.

EXTENDING THE DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY CATEGORY IS GOOD FOR OREGON

Oregon can create stronger educational experiences for students by extending the Developmental Delay eligibility category until third grade. Gaps in service impact kids' ability to learn and fully participate in their own education.

There is some evidence in Oregon that children who were eligible for Early Childhood Special Education and entered kindergarten with a school-age eligibility for special education where twice as likely to exit special education by third-grade than children who lost their eligibility at kindergarten entry and were re-identified for special education by third-grade. 

Opportunity to Support House Bill 4067:

Thursday, February 8th, 1-3 PM
House Early Childhood & Family Supports Committee
Capitol Hearing Room D

If your child had a Developmental Delay eligibility for preschool and then experienced a lapse in special education services upon entering elementary school, the House Early Childhood & Family Supports Committee needs to hear from you this week!  Plan to attend the hearing in person or submit written testimony to the Committee.  

Here are some tips to help you share your family's story with legislators:
  • Describe your family and your child - one to two sentences about your family and your child, including one thing your child likes to do;
  • Briefly describe what your child's transition to elementary school was like without continued supports from special education; and
  • Describe how having a seamless transition from preschool to elementary special education services would have been beneficial to your child.
If you need help in preparing your testimony, email
ocddaei@gmail.com by Noon on Wednesday. 

BUDGET RE-BALANCE 
Developmental Disabilities Services  

This short session, the DD Coalition is closely watching the budget rebalance for the Department of Human Services' Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS). We are especially concerned about a threat to children's DD services caused by a budget note during the last legislative session.

The 2017 budget note directed ODDS to make a generic $12 million general fund cut to its budget. If ODDS cannot find the $12 million, then the budget note directs them to look at changing eligibility. The $12 million cut request was in addition to a $30 million general fund dollar reduction DD Services already took in the 2017-2019 biennium.

Along with a plan to cut as much of the $12 million as possible, ODDS has presented a plan to the legislature that will cap how many children can receive DD services - and gives legislators the option to start counting family income when looking at Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability eligibility. 

We are asking legislators to fully fund DD Services so children with disabilities can continue to access needed services at home and in the community.

On January 11th, the House Interim Committee on Human Services and Housing held an Informational Meeting regarding Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Eligibility and Services.  Click HERE for a GO! Project summary of this important hearing. 
    
ADVOCACY ACTION STEPS

  • Find your legislature at www.oregonlegislature.gov and get the current contact information for your State Representative and State Senator
  • Schedule a time to discuss EI/ECSE services in person, via phone or video conference with your two State legislators and/or their staff
  • Plan to participate in Advocacy Days (Details provided below)
 
LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY DAYS:
 
Please make plans to join us in advocacy during the 2018 Legislative Session
 
The Alliance for Early Intervention will be partnering with the Oregon Developmental Disability Coalition's GO! Project Advocacy Team to provide you with information, training and support on the following dates and times:
 
Wednesday, February 14 10AM to 2PM
State Library of Oregon (directly across from Capitol)
250 Winter Street NE Salem, Room 102 & 103
Advocacy Training provided at 11AM
 
Tuesday, February 27 from 10AM to 2PM
State Library of Oregon (directly across from Capitol)
250 Winter Street NE Salem, Room 102 & 103
Advocacy Training provided at 11AM
 
Tuesday, March 6 from NOON to 2PM
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE Salem, Room 350
  • Schedule visits with your legislators on these dates
  • Wear something yellow to show unity in advocacy
  • Stop by before and after your visits for important advocacy updates!      
To follow the action at the Capitol this session, use the search feature on the Oregon State Legislature's website to see what bills are being proposed by typing in keywords about issues of importance to you.
 
You can watch live video or listen to audio of the Senate and House chamber sessions and Committee hearings online through the Oregon State Legislature's website

TRANSITION TO KINDERGARTEN 
TRAINING EVENTS 

Upcoming FACT Oregon Transition to Kindergarten Trainings:
 
Learn the difference between an IFSP and an IEP, the importance of having a vision for the future, the process of transitioning from early childhood special education to Kindergarten, and ways to prepare for your child's first IEP meeting.

02/20 11:30 Medford
02/21 5:00P Salem
03/15 5:30P Albany
03/17 10:00 Eugene

Also visit FACT Oregon online for additional resources:

REGIONAL FAMILY NETWORKS 

Connect with a Regional Family Network Near You:
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