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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XXX
Chapter 411
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F.S. 411.227
411.227 Components of the Learning Gateway.The Learning Gateway system consists of the following components:
(a) Each local demonstration project shall establish the system access point, or gateway, by which parents can receive information about available appropriate services. An existing public or private agency or provider or new provider may serve as the system gateway. The local Learning Gateway should provide parents and caretakers with a single point of access for screening, assessment, and referral for services for children from birth through age 9. The demonstration projects have the budgetary authority to hire appropriate personnel to perform administrative functions. These staff members must be knowledgeable about child development, early identification of learning problems and learning disabilities, family service planning, and services in the local area. Each demonstration project must arrange for the following services to be provided by existing service systems:
1. Conducting intake with families.
2. Conducting appropriate screening or referral for such services.
3. Conducting needs/strengths-based family assessment.
4. Developing family resource plans.
5. Making referrals for needed services and assisting families in the application process.
6. Providing service coordination as needed by families.
7. Assisting families in establishing a medical home.
8. Conducting case management and transition planning as necessary.
9. Monitoring performance of service providers against appropriate standards.
(b) The Learning Gateway Steering Committee and demonstration projects shall designate a central information and referral access phone number for parents in each pilot community. This centralized phone number should be used to increase public awareness and to improve access to local supports and services for children from birth through age 9 and their families. The number should be highly publicized as the primary source of information on services for young children. The telephone staff should be trained and supported to offer accurate and complete information and to make appropriate referrals to existing public and private community agencies.
(c) In collaboration with local resources such as Healthy Start, the demonstration projects shall develop strategies for offering hospital visits or home visits by trained staff to new mothers. The Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall provide technical assistance to local demonstration projects in developing brochures and other materials to be distributed to parents of newborns.
(d) In collaboration with other local resources, the demonstration projects shall develop public awareness strategies to disseminate information about developmental milestones, precursors of learning problems and other developmental delays, and the service system that is available. The information should target parents of children from birth through age 9 and should be distributed to parents, health care providers, and caregivers of children from birth through age 9. A variety of media should be used as appropriate, such as print, television, radio, and a community-based Internet website, as well as opportunities such as those presented by parent visits to physicians for well-child checkups. The Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall provide technical assistance to the local demonstration projects in developing and distributing educational materials and information.
1. Public awareness strategies targeting parents of children from birth through age 5 shall be designed to provide information to public and private preschool programs, child care providers, pediatricians, parents, and local businesses and organizations. These strategies should include information on the school readiness performance standards adopted by the Department of Education.
2. Public awareness strategies targeting parents of children from ages 6 through 9 must be designed to disseminate training materials and brochures to parents and public and private school personnel, and must be coordinated with the local school board and the appropriate school advisory committees in the demonstration projects. The materials should contain information on state and district achievement levels for grades K-3.
(a) In coordination with the Department of Education and the Florida Pediatric Society, and using information learned from the local demonstration projects, the Learning Gateway Steering Committee shall establish guidelines for screening children from birth through age 9. The guidelines should incorporate recent research on the indicators most likely to predict early learning problems, mild developmental delays, child-specific precursors of school failure, and other related developmental indicators in the domains of cognition; communication; attention; perception; behavior; and social, emotional, sensory, and motor functioning.
(b) Based on the guidelines established by the steering committee and in cooperation with the Florida Pediatric Society, the steering committee shall adopt a comprehensive checklist for child health care checkups and a corresponding training package for physicians and other medical personnel in implementing more effective screening for precursors of learning problems, learning disabilities, and mild developmental delays.
(c) Using the screening guidelines developed by the steering committee, local demonstration projects should engage local physicians and other medical professionals in enhancing the screening opportunities presented by immunization visits and other well-child appointments, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics Periodicity Schedule.
(d) Using the screening guidelines developed by the steering committee, the demonstration projects shall develop strategies to increase early identification of precursors to learning problems and learning disabilities through providing parents the option of improved screening and referral practices within public and private early care and education programs and K-3 public and private school settings. Strategies may include training and technical assistance teams to assist program providers and teachers. The program shall collaborate appropriately with the school readiness coalitions, local school boards, and other community resources in arranging training and technical assistance for early identification and screening with parental consent.
(e) The demonstration project shall work with appropriate local entities to reduce the duplication of cross-agency screening in each demonstration project area. Demonstration projects shall provide opportunities for public and private providers of screening and assessment at each age level to meet periodically to identify gaps or duplication of efforts in screening practices.
(f) Based on technical assistance and support provided by the steering committee and in conjunction with the school readiness coalitions and other appropriate entities, demonstration projects shall develop a system to log the number of children screened, assessed, and referred for services. After development and testing, tracking should be supported by a standard electronic data system for screening and assessment information.
(g) In conjunction with the technical assistance of the steering committee, demonstration projects shall develop a system for targeted screening. The projects should conduct a needs assessment of existing services and programs where targeted screening programs should be offered. Based on the results of the needs assessment, the project shall develop procedures within the demonstration community whereby periodic developmental screening could be offered to parents of children from birth through age 9 who are served by state intervention programs or whose parents or caregivers are in state intervention programs. Intervention programs for children, parents, and caregivers include those administered or funded by the:
1. Agency for Health Care Administration;
2. Department of Children and Families;
3. Department of Corrections and other criminal justice programs;
4. Department of Education;
5. Department of Health; and
6. Department of Juvenile Justice.
(h) When results of screening suggest developmental problems, potential learning problems, or learning disabilities, the intervention program shall inform the child’s parent of the results of the screening and shall offer to refer the child to the Learning Gateway for coordination of further assessment. If the parent chooses to have further assessment, the Learning Gateway shall make referrals to the appropriate entities within the service system.
(i) The local Learning Gateway shall provide for followup contact to all families whose children have been found ineligible for services under Part B or Part C of the IDEA to inform them of other services available in the county.
(j) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, each agency participating in the Learning Gateway is authorized to provide to a Learning Gateway program confidential information exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 regarding a developmental screening on any child participating in the Learning Gateway who is or has been the subject of a developmental screening within the jurisdiction of each agency.
(a) The demonstration projects shall develop a conceptual model system of care that builds upon, integrates, and fills the gaps in existing services. The model shall indicate how qualified providers of family-based or center-based interventions or public and private school personnel may offer services in a manner consistent with the standards established by their profession and by the standards and criteria adopted by the steering committee and consistent with effective and proven strategies. The specific services and supports may include:
1. High-quality early education and care programs.
2. Assistance to parents and other caregivers, such as home-based modeling programs for parents and play programs to provide peer interactions.
3. Speech and language therapy that is age-appropriate.
4. Parent education and training.
5. Comprehensive medical screening and referral with biomedical interventions as necessary.
6. Referral as needed for family therapy, other mental health services, and treatment programs.
7. Family support services as necessary.
8. Therapy for learning differences in reading and math, and attention to subject material for children in grades K-3.
9. Referral for Part B or Part C services as required.
10. Expanded access to community-based services for parents.
11. Parental choice in the provision of services by public and private providers.

The model shall include a statement of the cost of implementing the model.

(b) Demonstration projects shall develop strategies to increase the use of appropriate intervention practices with children who have learning problems and learning disabilities within public and private early care and education programs and K-3 public and private school settings. Strategies may include training and technical assistance teams. Intervention must be coordinated and must focus on providing effective supports to children and their families within their regular education and community environment. These strategies must incorporate, as appropriate, school and district activities related to the student’s progress monitoring plan and must provide parents with greater access to community-based services that should be available beyond the traditional school day. Academic expectations for public school students in grades K-3 must be based upon the local school board’s adopted achievement levels. When appropriate, school personnel shall consult with the local Learning Gateway to identify other community resources for supporting the child and the family.
(c) The steering committee, in cooperation with the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education, shall identify the elements of an effective research-based curriculum for early care and education programs.
(d) The steering committee, in conjunction with the demonstration projects, shall develop processes for identifying and sharing promising practices and shall showcase these programs and practices at a dissemination conference.
(e) The steering committee shall establish processes for facilitating state and local providers’ ready access to information and training concerning effective instructional and behavioral practices and interventions based on advances in the field and for encouraging researchers to regularly guide practitioners in designing and implementing research-based practices. The steering committee shall assist the demonstration projects in conducting a conference for participants in the three demonstration projects for the dissemination of information on best practices and new insights about early identification, education, and intervention for children from birth through age 9. The conference should be established so that continuing education credits may be awarded to medical professionals, teachers, and others for whom this is an incentive.
(f) Demonstration projects shall investigate and may recommend to the steering committee more effective resource allocation and flexible funding strategies if such strategies are in the best interest of the children and families in the community. The Department of Education and other relevant agencies shall assist the demonstration projects in securing state and federal waivers as appropriate.
History.s. 6, ch. 2002-265; s. 11, ch. 2004-484; s. 2, ch. 2006-74; s. 316, ch. 2011-142; s. 219, ch. 2014-19; s. 14, ch. 2021-10; s. 1, ch. 2022-16.