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 Article of Interest - Family Support Subsidy (FSS)

Changes to the Administrative Rules for Special Education and Their Impact on the Family Support Subsidy (FSS) Program

Memo from Jim Haveman, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, to Tom Watkins, Superintendent of Public Instruction, July 8, 2002

Please assist us in communicating with local and intermediate school districts regarding the modified process for obtaining special education documentation to establish eligibility for the Michigan Department of Community Health, Family Support Subsidy Program (FSSP).

Formerly, families may have been eligible for the Family Support Subsidy if their child's special education eligibility category was severely mentally impaired, severely multiply impaired or autistic impaired. Due to changes in the new administrative rules for special education, which took effect June 6, 2002, families applying for FSSP services will need to gather educational information in a slightly modified manner.

Children with severe mental impairment are no included as part of the new cognitive impairment eligibility category. To assist families applying for the FSSP, those children with cognitive impairment who are within the severe range of functioning (as defined in the former eligibility category of severely mentally impaired) will need to be identified. Since an intellectual assessment will still be performed to establish eligibility for special education under the cognitive impairment category, we hope that this will not present a difficulty. The local community mental health services program will request that the school answer the following question: Does the child's latest intellectual assessment show development at a rate of 4.5 or more standard deviations below the mean?

Documenting the educational program recommendation for children with autism (formerly autistic impaired) will continue to be necessary. For these children to be eligible for FSSP, they must be receiving services under one of the following special education rule numbers: R340.1738, R340.1748 or R340.1758 (1). Children with an eligibility category of severe multiple impairments (formerly severely multiply impaired) will continue to be eligible.

We have prepared language that may be useful in identifying children who may meet the educational eligibility requirements for FSSP (attached). We would appreciate assistance from local and intermediate school districts in verifying this information upon request from community mental health or the family. This verification is necessary for first time applicants as well as families continuing their eligibility through the annual renewal process.

We would also like to ask that you encourage schools to inform potentially eligible families of the FSSP. School districts can order brochures (English or Spanish) by contacting the county community mental health services program in their area or by calling (517) 335-9480. If school districts have questions or concerns, they may contact their county community mental health services program or Cheryl Thelen, Statewide Coordinator, Family Support Subsidy Program at (517) 335-9480. Please share this information with schools under your jurisdiction, Thank you.

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