Public Comment – Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senate Bill 1060

Public Input Provided in 2013

TCDD Letterhead

Public Comment
Senate Health and Human Services Committee
March 19, 2013
Senate Bill 1060

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) is established by federal law in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and governed by a 27 member board, appointed by the Governor, 60 percent of whom are individuals with developmental disabilities or family members of individuals with disabilities. TCDD’s purpose in law is to encourage policy change so that people with disabilities have opportunities to be fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.
SB 1060 would require the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to collect data that would allow the agency to evaluate the cost effectiveness of family cost-share provisions in the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program and to consider and implement any changes determined by the agency to improve cost-effectiveness. SB 1060 also instructs DARS to consider implementing family cost share provisions based upon the family’s size and adjusted gross income with families in higher income brackets being required to pay more than those same families paid before this bill’s implementation. The committee substitute for SB 1060 reportedly will stipulate that DARS may choose not to implement changes if they prove cost-prohibitive to families. However, concerns about reduced access remain.ECI Family Income - March 2012: Federal Poverty Level Up to 100% - 54.43% of recipients. Federal Poverty Level 100% to 200% - 20.49% of recipients. Federal Poverty Level 200% to 300% - 9.7%% of recipients. Total ECI Families Below 300% - 84.62%.
The ECI program, administered by DARS, instituted a cost share as directed by the 82nd Texas Legislature. The cost share has not returned revenue sufficient to offset the administrative costs, largely because ECI families are overwhelmingly low-income. In its Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Report[i], the Legislative Budget Board reports that nearly 85% are below 300% of federal poverty level and more than 50% are below 100% FPL. Any additional family cost share seems likely to also create more administrative burden than revenue.
The ECI program provides children, their families, our communities and the Texas budget with a return on investment without cost share. Researchers for RAND Labor and Population conducted benefit-cost analyses, using accepted methodologies, for favorable effects of early childhood intervention programs that could readily be expressed in dollar terms. The estimates of returns to society for each dollar invested extend from $1.80 to $17.07[ii]. Another report from the Symposium on Early Childhood Science and Policy sponsored by the National Governor’s Association and Harvard University found that effective early childhood programs return $4 to $9 per dollar invested with benefits to the community through reduced crime, welfare, and educational remediation, as well as increased tax revenues on higher incomes for the participants of early childhood programs when they reach adulthood[iii].
Ave Number of ECI Children Served. 2011 - 30,492. 2012 - 25,035.  Cost Share as % of Revenue - Less than 1 percent.Family cost-share and narrowing of eligibility in the past two years has reduced the number of children served over 5,400 per month and revenue from cost-share has provided additional revenue of less than one percent. The cost effectiveness of ECI is the return on our investment. The sooner children with or at risk of disabilities receive assistance and the sooner their families receive support towards their child’s development, the farther they will go in life and the greater the economic return.
TCDD recommends that publicly-funded services and supports be maintained and funded in a manner that ensures critical services and supports for children and families are not reduced or limited in order to balance the state’s budget.
Respectfully submitted,
Jessica Ramos
Public Policy Director
512-437-5417


[i] Texas State Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Report. Submitted To The 83rd Texas Legislature
Prepared By Legislative Budget Board Staff January 2013. Pg. 268. Retrieved March 14, 2013 from lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Geer/Government%20effectiveness%20and%20efficiency%20report%202012.pdf
[ii]Proven Benefits of Early Childhood. Interventions Rand Labor and Population Research Brief. 2005. Pg. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2013 from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_briefs/2005/RAND_RB9145.pdf
[iii] InBrief: Early Childhood Program Effectiveness. National Symposium on Early Childhood Science and Policy. 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2013 from  http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/briefs/inbrief_series/inbrief_program_effectiveness/