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