17:1974      Requirements for statewide system

 A statewide comprehensive, coordinated, multi-disciplinary, interagency system to provide early intervention services for infants and toddlers with special needs and their families shall include, at a minimum, the following components:

 (1) A definition of the term "developmental delay" that will be used by Louisiana in carrying out programs under this Part.

 (2) A state policy that is in effect and that ensures that appropriate early intervention services are available to all infants and toddlers with special needs and their families, including Indian infants and toddlers and their families residing on a reservation geographically located in Louisiana.

 (3) A timely, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary evaluation of the functioning of each infant or toddler with special needs in Louisiana and a family-directed identification of the needs of each family of such an infant or toddler to appropriately assist in the development of the infant or toddler.

 (4) For each infant or toddler with special needs in Louisiana, an individualized family service plan in accordance with federal regulations, including family service coordination in accordance with such service plan.

 (5) A comprehensive child-find system, consistent with federal requirements, including a system for making referrals to service providers that includes timelines and provides for participation by primary referral sources.

 (6) A public awareness program focusing on early identification of infants and toddlers with special needs, including the preparation and dissemination by the Lead Agency to all primary referral sources, especially hospitals and physicians, of information for parents on the availability of early intervention services, and procedures for determining the extent to which such sources disseminate such information to parents of infants and toddlers.

 (7) A central directory which includes information on early intervention services, resources, and experts available in Louisiana and research and demonstration projects being conducted in Louisiana.

 (8) A comprehensive system of personnel development, including the training of paraprofessionals and the training of primary referral sources respecting the basic components of early intervention services available in Louisiana, that is consistent with the comprehensive system of personnel development described in Part B federal regulations, [In par. (8), "Part B federal regulations" is as it appears in the enrolled bill (Acts 1998, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 109).] and may include:

 (a) Implementing innovative strategies and activities for the recruitment and retention of early education service providers.

 (b) Promoting the preparation of early intervention providers who are fully and appropriately qualified to provide early intervention services.

 (c) Training personnel to work in rural and inner-city areas.

 (d) Training personnel to coordinate transition services for infants and toddlers served under this Part from an early intervention program under this Part to preschool or other appropriate services.

 (9) Subject to Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, policies and procedures relating to the establishment and maintenance of standards to ensure that personnel necessary to carry out this Part are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including:

 (a) The establishment and maintenance of standards which are consistent with any state-approved or recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements which apply to the area in which such personnel are providing early intervention services.

 (b) To the extent such standards are not based on the highest requirements in the state applicable to a specific profession or discipline, the steps Louisiana is taking to require the retraining or hiring of personnel that meet appropriate professional requirements in Louisiana; except that nothing in this Part, including this Paragraph, prohibits the use of paraprofessionals and assistants who are appropriately trained and supervised, in accordance with Louisiana law, regulations, or written policy, to assist in the provision of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with special needs under this Part.

 (10) A single line of responsibility in the Lead Agency which has been designated by the governor for carrying out:

 (a) The general administration and supervision of programs and activities receiving assistance under this Part to ensure compliance with this Part.

 (b) The identification and coordination of all available resources within Louisiana from federal, state, local, and private sources.

 (c) The assignment of financial responsibility to the appropriate agency.

 (d) The development of procedures to ensure that services are provided to infants and toddlers with special needs and their families in a timely manner pending the resolution of any disputes between public agencies or service providers.

  (e) The resolution of intra and interagency disputes.

  (f) The entry into formal interagency agreements that define the financial responsibility of each agency for paying for early intervention services, consistent with Louisiana law, and procedures for resolving disputes and that include all additional components necessary to ensure meaningful cooperation and coordination.

(11) A policy pertaining to the contracting or making of other arrangements with service providers to provide early intervention services in Louisiana, consistent with the provisions of this Part, including the contents of the application used and the conditions of the contract or other arrangements.

(12) A procedure for securing timely reimbursement of funds.

(13) Procedural safeguards with respect to programs.

(14) A system for compiling data on the numbers of infants and toddlers with special needs and their families in Louisiana in need of appropriate early intervention services, which may be based on a sample of data, the numbers of such infants and toddlers and their families served, the types of services provided, which may be based on a sample of data, and other information required by the United States Secretary of Education.

 (15) A state interagency coordinating council that meets the requirements under R.S. 17:1979(A).

 (16) Policies and procedures to ensure that:

 (a) To the maximum extent appropriate, early intervention services are provided in natural environments.

 (b) The provision of early intervention services for any infant or toddler occurs in a setting other than a natural environment only when early intervention cannot be achieved satisfactorily for the infant or toddler in a natural environment.

Acts 1995, No. 1228, §1, eff. June 29, 1995. Amended by Acts 1998, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 109, §1, eff. May 5, 1998.