Two important pieces of legislation affecting disability services were recently passed and signed by Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb. Leaders from key service providers, including CEO Patrick Cockrum from Sycamore Services, were on-hand to witness the signing. 

House Enrolled Act 1216 is a bill for the First Steps program covering children from birth to age 3 who are experiencing a developmental delay, or diagnosed with a condition that results in a high probability of a developmental delay, or the child is at risk of having a delay if early intervention is not provided. 

Bill 1216 will set income levels for families receiving benefits under Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  The bill also requires the division of disability and rehabilitative services to review and revise the division’s policy regarding make-up therapy sessions, including defining what constitutes a “make-up” or “missed” session, based on recommendations from the interagency coordinating council. Also included this year was additional funding appropriated for First Steps. 

House Bill 1488 extends the 1102 Task Force that was established in 2017 to study issues and provide guidance in solving those issues regarding needed services for individuals with disabilities.  

This bill requires the division of disability and rehabilitative services to develop a plan to establish a statewide crisis assistance program for individuals with developmental disabilities and sets requirements of the program. The bill also establishes a task force, effective until December 31, 2025, for assessment of services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and defines its requirements regarding plans for implementation of community-based services for these individualsThe bill also requires the division to determine and assess certain components of the vocational rehabilitation services program and establish new priority categories for individuals served by a waiver. 

At Sycamore Services, we’re grateful for the work of our legislators on behalf of the individuals we serve and we look forward to working together in the future to establish a more robust support system for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.