Publication Date: February 12, 2018

The Oregon Legislature has been back in session for one week, and we are happy to report that the House Early Childhood and Family Supports Committee has already heard testimony on House Bill 4067 to extend the developmental delay eligibility category for special education beyond preschool age up through third grade (up to age 10) to ensure children experiencing delays get the supports they need to succeed in school.
 
Approximately 200 Oregon children who qualified for Early Childhood Special Education services under the developmental delay eligibility criteria will lose access to needed educational supports and fall further behind their peers.
 
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.
 
It is our hope that Oregon will join 30 other states in creating stronger educational experiences for students by extending the Developmental Delay eligibility category until third grade. This will also reduce barriers for families and give educators more time to gather more information about the student’s need for support.  
 
On Thursday, February 8th, the House Early Childhood & Family Supports Committee heard compelling testimony in support of House Bill 4067 from Senator Sara Gelser; Judy Newman, Executive Director of EC Cares; Sue Wickeman, School Psychologist; and Heather Kernan, parent. Five additional speakers came forward to testify in support of this important legislation before professional lobbyists from OEA, COSA and OSBA testified in opposition.   Representative Keny-Guyer and Representative Hayden, addressed concerns of the lobby groups and expressed their strong support for this legislation.
 
To view a video of the hearing use this link: HB 4067 Testimony (click on the play button near the top of the page)
  
The Alliance for Early Intervention would like to express gratitude to all the families and educators who have actively supported this needed legislation to this point! We will need to continue building momentum to help this bill through the rest of the process.
 
This week, the bill will be scheduled for a vote out of this committee and we expect it will be moved forward in the legislative process. We invite you to participate in one or both of the advocacy events scheduled this week to support this legislation that would provide needed continuity for children with developmental delays as they transition into elementary school special education services.

Early Childhood Lobby Day
Monday, February 12, 12 – 4 PM
Oregon State Capitol, Room 167A
Advocacy Training provided at 12 PM
Lunch & Spanish interpretation available

Developmental Disabilities Lobby Day
Wednesday, February 14, 10 AM to 2 PM
State Library of Oregon (directly across from Capitol)
250 Winter Street NE Salem, Room 102 & 103
Advocacy Training provided at 11AM

Fact Sheets will be available at these events to help you inform your legislators about this important issue.  
 
Get the contact information for your State Representative and State Senator online at www.oregonlegislature.gov
 
If you are not able to make it to the Capitol this week but have a personal story about the need to extend the Developmental Delay special education eligibility beyond preschool, we encourage you to write your State Representative and Senator and let them know why this legislation is important.   Start by introducing your family, briefly describe your child’s transition from Early Childhood Special Education to Kindergarten and how House Bill 4067 would make a positive difference.
 
If you need help in scheduling meetings with legislators and/or want to share your story with us as well, email us at ocddaei@gmail.com.