We call on County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to instruct the Monroe County Department of Health to publish a new Preschool Special Education rate structure that establishes a 15% increase in reimbursement for all services across the board, regardless of whether they are provided in a one-to-one or group setting.
Young children with disabilities have a right guaranteed by federal law to timely and appropriate services provided in the least restrictive environment. Preschoolers’ Individualized Education Programs often recommend Related Services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision and hearing education services, and counseling.
Unfortunately, hundreds of young children throughout Monroe County have waited weeks or months for needed support
Preschool Special Education Related Services rates in Monroe County have not increased in 10 years. In 2018-19, Monroe County paid a lower rate per service than each of the 5 counties that border it. Due to these low rates, qualified professionals are leaving the field and there is a dire shortage of Preschool Special Education service providers. Many leave the field to work at hospitals, schools and other settings where they can earn as much as $20,000-$30,000 more per year.
– In March, 2019, County Executive Dinolfo announced a 15% “across-the-board” rate increase to Preschool Special Education Related Services.
– In late May, 2019, parents, providers, and advocates learned that this alleged 15% increase was only being applied to individual services between a provider and child, while group services were being held even.
– While the County alleges that group rates are new to Monroe County, the State Education Department has listed group rates for Monroe County on its website for several years, and many children across the county currently receive group services. Providers have been billing the county for group services for years. For example, in one suburban Rochester school district, more than one-third of all PSE services in 2018-19 were group services.
Why is this important?:
The early years are a unique and time-limited opportunity to address developmental delays. It is therefore critical that these services are available as soon as children are identified as needing them.
Research shows that early detection and treatment of developmental delays and disabilities can improve cognition, social skills, school readiness, and family and child well-being. The architecture of the brain is forming rapidly during a child’s early years, and efforts to address developmental challenges have the greatest chance of succeeding during the first few years of life. Preschool Special Education Services are therefore both more effective than interventions among older children and extraordinarily less costly than years of school-aged special education.
Action for a Better Community
Asbury Day Care Center
Catholic Family Center
Child Care Council
Church of the Assumption
Downtown United Presbyterian Church
Early Childhood Development Initiative Advocacy Committee
Early Childhood Education Quality Council
First Unitarian Church
Friendship Children’s Center
Heart and Soul Community Church
Ibero-American Action League
Imagination Child Care Academy
In Christ New Hope Ministry
Lutheran Church of the Reformation
Monroe County Council of Child Care Directors
Monroe County School Boards Association
New Hope Free Methodist Church
Office of Advocacy and Social Ministry, Catholic Family Center
Oregon Leopold Daycare
Panorama Pediatric Group
Pittsford Pediatric Associates
Rochester Area Community Foundation
Rochester Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking
The Children’s Agenda
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester
VOA Children’s Center