Our View of the Legislature: Children’s Services Act

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It is the mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia to advance independence, choice and self-determination; protect legal, human and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation.

Part of dLCV’s mission is to support individuals with disabilities to receive services in the least restrictive environment.  This includes within school settings.  Children and youth with disabilities have a right to receive education services in the least restrictive environment, also.

To this end, dLCV is monitoring legislation that seeks to allow Children’s Services Act (CSA) money to be utilized across a variety of school settings and placements.  Currently, CSA money can only be used in private school settings.  The bills being heard in the Senate and House include SB 1099, SB 1114, SB 1133, SB 1313, HB 762, HB 2117, HB 2212, and HB 2289.

Many of these bills stem from a study conducted by Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) in November of 2020.  You can find that study here:  http://jlarc.virginia.gov/pdfs/reports/Rpt541.pdf  JLARC data analysis shows that private day rates and enrollment have increased significantly.  JLARC additionally found that restricting the use of these funds can result in higher rates of private and institutional placements.

While dLCV acknowledges that some children may require the supports provided in a private school setting, we believe in funding the continuum of services available to Virginia’s children by allowing funding to be applied also to public school settings.  These bills will ultimately allow public schools to build more programs and increase resources, which will result in keeping children in their own locality, close to home, and in the least restrictive environment.

Please continue to check back here for updates as the session proceeds, and let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following.  Contact us at info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.