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RULE §351.843Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee

(a) Statutory authority. The Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Advisory Committee is authorized and required under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §1441; its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 303, Subpart G State Interagency Coordinating Council; and Texas Human Resources Code Chapter 73, Early Childhood Intervention Services. Failure to establish the advisory committee would prohibit the Early Childhood Intervention program from receiving federal financial assistance.

(b) Purpose. The committee assists and advises the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in performing its responsibility to provide early childhood intervention services to eligible infants and toddlers and their families.

(c) Tasks. The committee performs the following tasks:

  (1) advises and assists:

    (A) HHSC in developing and implementing the policies that constitute the statewide early childhood intervention system; and

    (B) the Texas Education Agency regarding appropriate services and the transition of toddlers with developmental disabilities to services provided under IDEA, Part B;

  (2) assists HHSC in achieving:

    (A) full participation, coordination, and cooperation of all appropriate public agencies;

    (B) effective implementation of the statewide system, by establishing a process that includes:

      (i) seeking information from service providers, service coordinators, parents, and others about any federal, state, or local policies that impede timely service delivery; and

      (ii) taking steps to ensure that any policy problems are resolved;

    (C) resolution of disputes to the extent appropriate;

  (3) advises and assists HHSC in certain administrative duties including:

    (A) identifying sources of fiscal and other supports for services for early intervention programs;

    (B) assigning financial responsibility to the appropriate agency; and

    (C) promoting interagency agreements; and

  (4) advises and assists HHSC in preparing applications for funds under IDEA, Part C and amendments to those applications.

(d) Reporting requirements. The committee advises and assists HHSC in preparing an annual report to the Governor of Texas and to the United States Secretary of Education (Secretary). The report must:

  (1) provide the status of HHSC-contracted early childhood intervention services programs;

  (2) contain the information required by the Secretary for the year for which the report is made; and

  (3) be submitted to the Secretary by a date that the Secretary establishes.

(e) Open meetings. The ECI Advisory Committee complies with the requirements for open meetings under 20 U.S.C. §1441(c); 34 C.F.R. §303.602, Texas Government Code Chapters 551, 552, and 2001; and the bylaws developed by the advisory committee. HHSC accommodates special needs. Upon request, HHSC provides auxiliary aids or services to persons with disabilities.

(f) Membership. The committee is composed of no more than 25 official members appointed by the Governor of Texas. Except as may be necessary to stagger terms, the term of office of each member is six years.

  (1) Members are appointed for staggered terms so that the terms of eight members expire on February 1 of each odd-numbered year.

  (2) In addition to the requirements in 20 U.S.C. §1441(b) and 34 C.F.R. §303.601, the committee is composed of the following official members.

    (A) At least seven official members must be parents, including minority parents.

      (i) The parent members must either be parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities or be parents of children with disabilities age 12 or younger, and also must have knowledge of, or experience with, programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities.

      (ii) At least one member must be a parent of a child age six or younger with a disability, preferably a parent of an infant or toddler with a disability.

      (iii) No parent member may be an employee of an HHSC-contracted early childhood intervention program.

    (B) At least five official members must be public or private providers of early childhood intervention services.

    (C) At least one official member must be a preschool specialist from an education service center.

    (D) At least one official member must be a physician, preferably a pediatrician who deals with children with developmental disabilities.

    (E) At least one official member must be a professional advocate for the rights of young children with developmental disabilities.

  (3) In the event of a vacancy for any reason, the Governor of Texas shall fill the vacancy with a representative of the same membership category to serve the unexpired portion of the term of the vacant position.

  (4) HHSC may appoint ex officio members to perform specific, time-limited tasks as needed. HHSC determines voting status of ex officio members.

  (5) HHSC may recommend to the Governor of Texas the removal of any advisory committee member who is absent more than:

    (A) half of the regularly scheduled meetings that the member is eligible to attend during each calendar year; or

    (B) two consecutive regularly scheduled meetings that the member is eligible to attend.

(g) Officers. The committee elects its own presiding officer or chairperson.

(h) Required Training. Each member shall complete all training on relevant statutes and rules, including Texas Government Code Chapters 551 and 552. Training will be provided by HHSC.

(i) Compensatory Per Diem. Official and ex officio members who attend meetings may be reimbursed for expenses for meals, lodging, and transportation as established in the current Texas State Appropriations Act, Article IX. The official and ex officio members who are parents are entitled to reimbursement for childcare. All official and ex officio members are entitled to reimbursement for attendant care.

Source Note: The provisions of this §351.843 adopted to be effective March 17, 2022, 47 TexReg 1225

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