Posted in ECE Information, Legislation

Purposed Changes to IDEA part B 619 – CDS / Child Development Services

The draft bill: An Act To Reorganize the Provision of Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Children with Disabilities from Birth to 6 Years of Age and Extend the Age of IDEA Eligibility to 22, that has been worked on in the Education Committee purposes that Part B 619 services (Free and Appropriate Public Education) for 3 and 4 year olds would transfer to SAU (School Districts) on July 1st, 2023.

There are many groups that feel the proposal lacks sufficient detail and fails to address significant concerns of stakeholders including child care providers and families. A variety of organizations have expressed their thoughts and are asking that this bill not be adopted right now.

The Legislature’s Education Committee will hold a public hearing on this plan on Wednesday, March 23. You can add your voice by contacting your Senator and Representative and asking them to please slow down the process of transitioning early childhood special education services from the CDS system to School Administrative Units.

We post our testimony and joint testimony with MaineAEYC on this site, but feel it’s important to also provide you with examples of the call to action from other concerned groups. Below find a copy of the Action Alert sent out from Maine Parent Federation. (*The date in the letter for the public hearing is wrongly listed as the 24th. Wednesday is the 23rd.) Following that is information from Maine Children’s Alliance.

—– Original Message Maine Parent Federation —–

Family Voice Needed

Call to Action – Family Voice Needed

Proposed Changes to Child Developmental Services (CDS)

Will Greatly Impact Children with Special Needs Ages 0-5

Maine’s Department of Education (MDOE) has proposed legislation which will greatly impact services delivered by CDS. The proposal lacks sufficient detail, does not address significant concerns of stakeholders, and proposes a timeline that could be devastating for children, families, providers, schools, and taxpayers.

What does the proposal do?

The proposed legislation by MDOE would end CDS’s oversight of a Free & Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and the related services for children ages 3-5 and move both to the local School Administrative Unit (SAU) as of July, 1 2023.

How will this impact your family?

This aggressive timeline does not sufficiently address the impact on children and families. It could mean less parental choice in where and how your child receives services, a compromised Least Restrictive Environment (the ability for your child to receive their services within their community with their typically developing peers), and cause confusing transitions between CDS and local SAU’s. 

There are also no processes for contracting with childcare providers or Head Start centers. This could make obtaining childcare close to home or work challenging.

Finally, there is no detailed plan for SAU readiness which include funding, staffing or transportation. Ensuring that SAUs are ready and able to provide quality services which are appropriate and available is important.

What can you do?

Your voice is critical and time is not on our side. A public hearing will be held next Wednesday, March 24. Please contact your SenatorsRepresentatives and the Educational and Cultural Affairs Committee; when emailing the committee please include Committee Clerk, Elias Murphy.

Your statement does not have to be detailed. Speak to how the changes will impact your family and ask them to slow the process down to explore other options to meet the needs of children without doing harm.


Speak up for Maine’s young children with developmental delays (from Maine Children’s Alliance)
Early intervention can help children make progress toward achievement of age-appropriate developmental milestones, be more prepared for kindergarten and beyond, have more positive interactions with their peers, and reduce the need for services during their school years.  Yet in Maine, too many children haven’t been receiving these services early enough. While some progress has been made since, in 2019-2020, Maine was tied for 50th in the nation for infants receiving early intervention services while our special education rates for older children are one of the highest in the nation. 

Ask legislators to reject proposed legislation to move services to public schools and to instead create a better plan for Child Development Services. 

Tell them to listen to the needs of families and establish an improved system for delivering early intervention services that will better meet the needs of the children and families who depend on them to thrive.
Ask them to: Reject a plan that did not include input from families or the staff of CDS / Eliminate wait lists / Improve identification of children who need early intervention / Bring Maine’s eligibility for infants and toddlers in line with the rest of New England.

As providers we know first hand about the impact of transitions on young children, the importance of team work with families, and the delays in getting services through CDS because of the lack of specialized professional in Maine. We also know how positive IDEA C is for birth – 2 because of the team approach it works from. If you or your families have concerns about the changes that will occur if this bill is adopted, we encourage you to take a few minutes and add your voice.

Author:

FCCAM works to unify, promote and strengthen quality professional family child care in Maine. We understand the critical role of child care providers in the lives of children and families. Through collaboration with other organizations we work to increase awareness of our profession and the value of a strong child care system to Maine's diverse communities.