January/February 2001Vol. 2, No. 1Interagency Government Body Addresses Needs of Children with Disabilities
Improving and coordinating the delivery of services to children with disabilities is an ongoing task. It is the duty of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council (FICC) to advise the Federal government on how best to carry this out.
The FICC is made up of participants from the six Federal agencies that are responsible for payment and delivery of services to children with disabilities and their families. According to its vision statement, the FICC "will assure that all children ages zero to eight with or at risk for developing disabilities and their families benefit from an integrated, seamless system of services and supports that is family centered, community based, and culturally competent." The participating agencies are the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, Defense, and the Social Security Administration.
FICC was established as part the reauthorization of P.L. 99-457, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA), of 1991. Its six committees--executive, communications, family empowerment, finance, integrated services, and legislative--meet regularly in between quarterly meetings of the entire FICC.
The FICC's website deals with a wide range of topics, including an introduction, vision and mission statements, guiding principles, names of participating personnel, organizational structure, legislative history, strategic plans, policy statements, and quarterly meeting schedules and minutes.
FICC lists its strengths as follows:
- the only interagency government body established in statute to address the needs of young children with disabilities and their families;
- has national perspective and ten years of institutional memory for services to young children with disabilities and their families, and should serve as a model for Federal leadership for systems for all young children;
- has investigated difficult issues in the delivery of integrated services; dispute resolution using mediation strategies; balanced funding sources and managed health care
- involves parents/consumers as members in all decision-making
Visit the FICC website at: http://www.fed-icc.org.