2003 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Huggins
AN ACT TO INCREASE THE PREVENTIVE SERVICES PROVIDED THROUGH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES FAMILIES FIRST FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER PROGRAM BY AUTHORIZING "FAMILY SUPPORT SPECIALIST" POSITIONS; TO FURTHER DEFINE THE SCOPE OF SERVICES THAT SHALL BE PROVIDED BY ALL FAMILY RESOURCE AND PARENTAL ASSISTANCE CENTERS PARTICIPATING IN THE FAMILIES FIRST FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER PROGRAM, TO ENSURE THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THESE PROGRAMS EQUIP CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES WITH THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO GROW UP AND SUCCEED; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT TO USE TANF FUNDS TO IMPLEMENT THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Department of Human Services shall develop a model for adding one or more "Family Support Specialist" position(s) to the scope of services of the "Families First" Family Resource Center program. The model shall include provisions for basing the Family Support Specialist at an elementary school in the local school district where the Families First Center is located; establishing educational requirements for the position that require a degree in social work, guidance and counseling, family life education or a related field; provide a mechanism for the Department of Human Services to refer families to the Families First Center for services, including service provided by the Family Support Specialist. The Department of Human Services shall test this model in one or more Families First Family Resource Centers in each of the state's four (4) congressional districts.
SECTION 2. The Department of Human Services shall establish a uniform scope of services to define the core services provided by a Families First Family Resource Center; establish a service model and the extent to which these core services must be made available; and an estimate of the cost necessary to provide these services. Any test establishing in conjunction with the implementation of the Family Support Specialist model shall also meet the requirements of this section and provide services, including, but not limited to, comprehensive information and referral; drop-in play and learn service for preschool-age children in the care of grandparents and other relatives during the hours of parental employment; parents-caregivers as teachers and its adaptation, Supporting Care Providers for parents and other caregivers referred by the Department of Human Services or enrolling on a voluntary basis; and the availability of these and other services that provide assistance to foster and adoptive parents.
SECTION 3. The Department of Human Services, in conjunction with the Department of Pediatrics at the University Medical Center, shall establish developmental benchmarks that identify the key milestones of development in children birth to age eight (8). The department shall use the benchmarks to ensure the programs and services provided through the Families First Family Resource Center are providing opportunities for participating children to reach their full potential. These benchmarks shall be provided to the Interagency Advisory Council for their review and comment.
SECTION 4. The Department of Human Services shall report the results of any assessment, test or activity conducted in conjunction with fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of this act to the Legislature no later than July 1, 2003. Any data documenting the number of preschool-age children served through this act shall meet the data reporting requirements of the Interagency Coordinating Council and all such data shall be posed on the department's website.
SECTION 5. The Department of Human Services shall use the TANF funds appropriated to the Families First Family Resource Center programs to meet the fiscal requirements of this act.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.