Gov. Nikki Haley recently announced that BabyNet, which First Steps currently manages, will transition to the leadership of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SDHHS).
This transition is the result of an executive order from the governor. The takeover is expected to be complete by July 1, 2017. The transition period is being done to ensure a smooth transition that includes completion of necessary filings with the U.S. Department of Education.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes a provision, Part C, offering early intervention service specifically for children who have disabilities. The services last from when they are born until they are three years old. In South Carolina, this section is called BabyNet.
The goal of the services is to detect and fulfill the child’s needs within five development areas, encompassing cognitive and physical development.
"Too many children with developmental delays, disabilities and special health care needs in South Carolina are falling through the cracks and not receiving the critical early intervention services they need,” Amy Holbert, executive director of Family Connection of South Carolina, said. “As the parent training and information center for South Carolina, we support steps that will best serve the children of our state and help position them for success in school and life. We believe a partnership between SCDHHS and DOE — based on these actions of Gov. Haley — can help ensure that the children throughout our state receive those critical services when needed.”
SCDHHS has a unique opportunity to offer Medicaid managed care organizations as well as BabyNet providers a more effective, efficient care plan that is personalized to family support needs.
“At Easterseals South Carolina we work every day to ensure that the children in South Carolina receive the best early intervention services they can, and we have been deeply troubled that South Carolina’s Part C program has the worst track record of complying with federal compliance standards of any state in the union,” Deanna Lewis, President & CEO of Easterseals South Carolina, said. “With HHS’s record of fiscal responsibility and having an established relationship with most BabyNet recipients already, we feel that HHS is the right agency to lead the program back into federal compliance.”