(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(1) There is a need to provide appropriate early intervention services individually designed for infants and toddlers from birth to two years of age, inclusive, who have disabilities or are at risk of having disabilities, to enhance their development and to minimize the potential for developmental delays.
(2) Early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities or who are at risk of having disabilities represent an investment of resources, in that these services reduce the ultimate costs to our society, by minimizing the need for special education and related services in later school years and by minimizing the likelihood of institutionalization. These services also maximize the ability of families to better provide for the special needs of their children. Early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities maximize the potential of the individuals to be effective in the context of daily life and activities, including the potential to live independently, and exercise the full rights of citizenship. The earlier intervention is started, the greater is the ultimate cost-effectiveness and the higher is the educational attainment and quality of life achieved by children with disabilities.
(3) The family is the constant in the child?s life, while the service system and personnel within those systems fluctuate. Because the primary responsibility of an infant?s or toddler?s well-being rests with the family, services should support and enhance the family?s capability to meet the special developmental needs of their infant or toddler with disabilities.
(4) Family-to-family support strengthens families? ability to fully participate in services planning and their capacity to care for their infants or toddlers with disabilities.
(5) Meeting the complex needs of infants with disabilities and their families requires active state and local coordinated, collaborative, and accessible service delivery systems that are flexible, culturally competent, and responsive to family-identified needs. When health, developmental, educational, and social programs are coordinated, they are proven to be cost effective, not only for systems, but for families as well.
(6) Family-professional collaboration contributes to changing the ways that early intervention services are provided and to enhancing their effectiveness.
(7) Infants and toddlers with disabilities are a part of their communities, and as citizens make valuable contributions to society as a whole.
(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that:
(1) Funding provided under Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1431 et seq.) be used to improve and enhance early intervention services as defined in this title by developing innovative ways of providing family focused, coordinated services, which are built upon existing systems.
(2) The State Department of Developmental Services, the State Department of Education, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the State Department of Social Services coordinate services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. These agencies need to collaborate with families and communities to provide a family-centered, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interagency, community-based, early intervention system for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
(3) Families be well informed, supported, and respected as capable and collaborative decisionmakers regarding services for their child.
(4) Professionals be supported to enhance their training and maintain a high level of expertise in their field, as well as knowledge of what constitutes most effective early intervention practices.
(5) Families and professionals join in collaborative partnerships to develop early intervention services that meet the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities, and that those partnerships be the basis for the development of services that meet the needs of the culturally and linguistically diverse population of California.
(6) To the maximum extent possible, infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families be provided services in the most natural environment, and include the use of natural supports and existing community resources.
(7) The services delivery system be responsive to the families and children it serves within the context of cooperation and coordination among the various agencies.
(8) Early intervention program quality be ensured and maintained through established early intervention program and personnel standards.
(9) The early intervention system be responsive to public input and participation in the development of implementation policies and procedures for early intervention services through the forum of an interagency coordinating council established pursuant to federal regulations under Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
(c) It is not the intent of the Legislature to require the State Department of Education to implement this title unless adequate reimbursement, as specified and agreed to by the department, is provided to the department from federal funds from Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 22, Sec. 10.)