Legislation would give more parents resources to support their children with severe developmental and intellectual disabilities

DENVER, CO — Legislation sponsored by Representative Mary Young to expand eligibility for a program to support children or youth with severe intellectual disabilities today advanced the House Public Health and Human Services Committee. The legislation passed 13-0.

“Parents should never be faced with the prospect of having to give up their child with severe intellectual disabilities to the state in order to ensure that child gets the best possible care for their condition,” said Rep. Young, (D-Greeley). “As a former school psychologist and special education teacher, I know first-hand how difficult it can be for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to find their kids the help they need. I’m grateful and pleased that we have taken this important step forward today.”

HB20-1012 expands eligibility and improves the scope of an existing program for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Current law only allows for a county department of human or social services to submit applications to the program on behalf of a child or youth. Rep. Young’s bill extends this option to the parent or guardian of the child or youth, meaning that for the first time children who have not been surrendered to the Department of Human Services will be able to access the program’s benefits. 

The bill also asks the Department of Human Services to promulgate rules related to the expansion of the program. These rules include planning for services for children and youth who become 18 years of age while in the program; access to behavioral health services; waitlist management; process for a child or youth who is at risk for out-of-home placement; and program evaluation.

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