Babies Can't Wait
State Interagency Coordinating Council
The legislation for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families (Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]) calls for a comprehensive statewide system of coordinated early intervention services. In Georgia, this system is called Babies Can't Wait (BCW) and the lead agency is the Department of Human Resources (DHR), Division of Public Health.
Experience has shown that families with young children with disabilities frequently require a range of services which cannot be provided entirely by a single agency. Congress recognized the need for a group outside the lead agency to "advise and assist" in the development of such a system.
The State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) is required by federal statute to be appointed by the Governor and is an important participant in the development of a well-coordinated service delivery system. The SICC is an independent group which does not "belong to" any particular agency.
The members of the SICC are appointed by the Governor and consist of representatives from the public and private sector who, by virtue of their position interest and/or training can contribute to the quality of services being provided to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The members are a diverse group and represent urban and rural Georgia.
The SICC is composed of:
- Parents - at least twenty percent of members are parents (including minority parents) of infants or toddlers with disabilities or children with disabilities aged 12 or younger with knowledge of, or experience with, programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
- Service Providers - at least twenty percent of members are public or private providers of early intervention services.
- State Legislature - one member is from the state legislature.
- Personnel Preparation - two members are involved in personnel preparation.
- Agency for Early Intervention Services - one member represents state agencies involved in the provision of, or payment for, early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. In Georgia, the following agencies are represented:
- Department of Human Resources - one member represents the Division of Public Health.
- Department of Human Resources - one member represents the Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Addictive Diseases.
- Department of Human Resources - one member represents the Division of Family and Children Services.
- Department of Community Health - one member represents the Division for Medical Assistance.
- Agency for Preschool Services - one member represents the state education agency responsible for preschool services to children with disabilities.
- Agency for Health Insurance - one member represents the agency responsible for the state governance of health insurance.
- Head Start Agency - one member represents a Head Start agency or program.
- Child Care Agency - one member represents a state agency responsible for child care.
- Other Members - one member represents the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and other members are appointed by the Governor, as needed.
The statutory requirements for membership allow Georgia to bring together consumer, service provider, political, and administrative communities which facilitate the building of bridges across agencies and between families and agencies.
The purpose of Georgia's SICC is to advise and assist DHR in the performance of its administrative duties as lead agency for BCW, particularly in regards to:
- identification of the sources of fiscal and other support for early intervention services, assignment of financial responsibility to the appropriate agency and promotion of interagency agreements
- preparation of applications, grants and amendments
- facilitation of transition of toddlers with disabilities to preschool and other appropriate services
- preparation of an annual report to the Governor and the other appropriate agencies and authorities on the status of early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families in Georgia
The mission of Georgia's SICC is to advise and assist the Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health and other agencies responsible for serving infants and toddlers, birth to age three with developmental delays and disabilities and their families, in providing an appropriate, family-centered, comprehensive service delivery system which promotes optimal child development and family functioning within natural environments.
The SICC does the majority of its work through committee. The committee meetings are held during the quarterly SICC meetings and are open to the public. In addition to the following committees, task forces and work groups are established yearly at the SICC retreat based on program needs: (Task forces may address issues related to finance, service delivery, transition, collaboration, and other topics identified as priorities.)
- Executive Committee
The Executive Committee sets the agenda for Council meetings; makes recommendations for presenters; determines the disposition of public comments made at Council meetings; addresses other issues for presentation/recommendation to the Council; recommends the formation of task forces and committees; and is responsible for handling all emergency matters requiring immediate Council attention prior to any official scheduled meeting. The Executive Committee is appointed by the Chair and consists of the Council Chairperson and four Council members, including the current Vice-Chair, the Parliamentarian, the most recent past chair, and a parent.
- Membership Committee
The Membership Committee meets as needed to ensure membership compliance with the provisions of Part C of IDEA, as well as, the SICC by-laws and to make recommendations regarding composition of the Council in order to improve its effectiveness. The Committee's recommendations, after approval by the Council, are forwarded to the Governor. The Membership Committee is appointed by the Chair and consists of the Council Chairperson and three Council members, one of whom is a parent.
- State Advisory Committee on Newborn Hearing Screening
The State Advisory Committee on Newborn Hearing Screening advises the Division of Public Health and recommends a comprehensive system of universal hearing screening for all newborns in Georgia to assure early detection of and intervention for hard of hearing and deaf children. The Committee reviews data to provide recommendations to hospitals, other health care institutions, physicians, the Department of Human Resources and the public. The Committee meets independently of the SICC and is appointed by the Director of the Division of Public Health.
The SICC meets quarterly throughout the state with at least one meeting in Metro-Atlanta and one meeting in Central Georgia annually. The meetings are open and accessible to the public and are publicly announced in the local area in which they are being held. The SICC welcomes all individuals and agencies both public and private to its quarterly meetings. The meetings are opportunities for systems involved in early intervention to advise and assist the Department of Human Resources in the implementation of the Babies Can't Wait Program.
We want and need your input. The State Interagency Coordinating Council welcomes public comment from individuals, programs, agencies, and others, about topics related to young children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. Public comments are a "reality check" for the members of the Council and let them know how the program is doing from people who are directly affected by it. They allow agency representatives and others the opportunity to respond to recommendations, situations, concerns and issues. The SICC Executive Committee thoroughly reviews and discusses all public comments. All persons making public comment will receive a formal written response from the Council Chair. NOTE: Formal, individual or system complaints should be directed to the State Babies Can't Wait Office, not the SICC.
Guidelines for Public Comment
The SICC welcomes public comment and can be presented in a variety of ways:
- In person-any guest present at a quarterly meeting may make a 3-5 minute verbal comment that will be electronically recorded to ensure accuracy; or present a written comment that will be read to the audience.
- Written- comments are welcomed at any time and may be:
- Emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faxed to: 404-657-2763
- Mailed to: SICC Coordinator, 2 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 11-104, Atlanta, GA 30303-3142
- Videotaped recordings should be mailed to SICC Coordinator, 2 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 11-104, Atlanta, GA 30303-3142
Local Interagency Coordinating Councils
The Local Interagency Coordinating Councils (LICC) are the regional compliment of the State ICC. The LICCs work collaboratively with the State ICC to advise and assist the local health districts in planning and implementing local early intervention service delivery systems for the local Babies Can't Wait Programs. The LICCs welcome your participation and are located in each of the health districts. To become active with your local LICC, please contact your local BCW Program.