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Legislative Announcements Listed in Past Issues

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U.S. Employment & Training Administration Expands Delivery of Youth Services Under WIA to Include Youth with Disabilities
On May 9, 2006, Emily Stover DeRocco, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Laborís Employment & Training Administration (ETA), sent a notice to all State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Agencies to inform them of ďthe expansion of ETAís strategic vision to serve out-of-school and our most at-risk youth, including Indian and Native American youth and youth with disabilities under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).Ē This new emphasis on youth with disabilities served under WIA is your opportunity to become more involved in helping your One-Stop systems more effectively include and serve youth with disabilities.

Loan Forgiveness for Special Education Teachers
The President has signed new legislation to address our nationís critical shortage of highly qualified special education teachers. On February 8, 2006, a new provision was enacted ensuring the availability of loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 for individuals who are currently or who are seeking to become highly qualified special education teachers.

National Direct Service Workforce Resource Center
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has launched the National Direct Service Workforce Resource Center, an online searchable database of materials on the recruitment and retention of direct support professionals, for the use of government and non-profit organizations, employers, and professionals. In addition, state Medicaid Agencies can receive in-depth technical assistance through the site or by calling toll-free: 1-877-822-2647.

Project Forum of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education
Each year, the National Association of State Directors of Special Educationís Project Forum identifies 15 hot topics within special education; conducts policy analyses on them; convenes policy forums on some of them; helps to maintain a national database of state laws, policies, and regulations governing special education; and distributes information to encourage better results for children with disabilities. Project Forum has a new Web site, where visitors can search existing documents, suggest future topics, join the Projectís e-mail list, view a list of topics in progress, view information on related resources, and contact the Project.

Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities
On April 25, 2006, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and the Office of Elementary and Special Education released a Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities. It provides up-to-date guidance on designing and implementing high-quality assessments for students with disabilities, and includes a set of technical assistance products that offer practical, research-based approaches to the challenges schools face in assessment, instruction, behavioral interventions, and use of accommodations. The Tool Kit also includes information about research now underway to further expand our knowledge about how best to support teaching, learning, and assessing.

New Director: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education
Alexa Posny, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner of Education for the Kansas State Department of Education, has been appointed Director of the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education effective April 17, 2006. Her experience includes serving as a state and local director of special education, director of curriculum and instruction, and a teacher of students with emotional and learning disabilities.

New Web Site: Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor has redesigned its Web site to better reflect the policy nature of its mission. ODEP provides national leadership by developing and influencing disability-related employment policy and practice affecting the employment of people with disabilities. Its Web site provides information for adults with disabilities, businesses and employers, federal partners/collaborators, researchers, service providers, state partners/collaborators, youth and families, and veterans.

New Web Site: Systems of Care
The Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new Web site. The site provides information about the mental health of children, youth, and families, as well as information about systems of care, an approach to services that recognizes the importance of family, school, and community, and seeks to promote the full potential of every child and youth by addressing his/her physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural, and social needs.

SSA Commissioner Announces New Disability Determination Process
On March 28, 2006, U.S. Social Security Administration Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart announced that the final rule establishing a new disability determination process was now publicly available. The new process, built upon Social Securityís electronic claims process, will shorten decision times and pay benefits to people who are obviously disabled much sooner.

Presidentís Statement on the Fifth Anniversary of the New Freedom Initiative
Five years ago, President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative to build on the progress of the Americans with Disabilities Act and more fully integrate people with disabilities into all aspects of life. This Web page describes the Administration's efforts to implement the Initiative and their results, as well as the Administrationís vision for future efforts.

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