Summary of Senate Bill 1974
SB 1974 is an ‘act relating to early learning funding’, designed as a conforming bill for changes planned for Florida’s early learning budget. It modifies s. 411.01, Florida Statutes, rather than repealing 411.01 and creating a new early learning statute as proposed by the House. It focuses on increasing direct service expenditures for the birth to five population, the adoption of a uniform chart of accounts, and creation of uniform statewide provider agreements and payment rates.
- SB 1974 prioritizes services to eligible children from birth to kindergarten and removes school-age children without siblings in SR from eligibility. Priority is given, in order, to:
- A child from birth to age 12 from a family with an adult receiving temporary cash assistance
- An at-risk child from birth to age 12 who is served by the DCF Family Safety Program Office
- A child from birth to kindergarten who is from a working family that is economically disadvantaged or a child who has special needs (3-5 years) with a current IEP
- A child younger than 13 years of age who is a sibling of a child enrolled in the SR Program
- Last priority to a child who meets the eligibility priority but who is also enrolled concurrently in Head Start and VPK
Uniform Chart of Accounts
Requires OEL to adopt a uniform chart of accounts for budgeting and financial purposes, which provides standard definitions for expenditures and reports for direct services for children, administrative costs, nondirect expenditures, and quality. It also requires that OEL prioritize funds for direct services.
Preassessment and Postassessment
Requires OEL to identify a preassessment and postassessment aligned with the child performance standards to be administered by providers to each child participating in a SR program.
Statewide Standardized SR Contract
Requires OEL to adopt a statewide SR contract to be used by coalitions when contracting with SR providers. Coalitions are prohibited from adopting addenda to the contract.
Statewide Contract Monitoring Tool
Requires OEL to adopt a statewide standardized contract monitoring tool for coalitions to use when monitoring compliance of SR providers under the statewide contract.
Fraud Prevention and Detection
- Requires OEL to coordinate with other state agencies to perform data matches on families participating in SR to ensure proper eligibility.
- Requires OEL to investigate coalitions, recipients, and providers relative to fraud or overpayment with authority to refer for criminal prosecution, civil enforcement, or refer to coalition.
- Gives coalition authority to pursue reimbursement through the court system, suspend or deny the provider or client from further participation, or create a repayment plan or other civil or administrative remedy.
- Requires suspension of provider contract for a minimum of 3 years for fraudulent misrepresentation of enrollment or attendance.
- Requires permanent suspension of contract for conviction of fraudulent eligibility, attendance or enrollment.