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The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 33 : Human Services

Chapter 016 : VERMONT DEAF, HARD OF HEARING, AND DEAFBLIND ADVISORY COUNCIL

(Cite as: 33 V.S.A. § 1602)
  • § 1602. Vermont Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Advisory Council

    (a) Creation; purpose. There is created a Vermont Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Advisory Council to promote diversity, equality, awareness, and access among individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind.

    (b) Membership. The Advisory Council shall consist of the following members:

    (1) sixteen members of the public, appointed by the Governor in a manner that ensures geographically diverse membership, including:

    (A) nine or fewer members who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind, provided each population is represented and that if a member represents an organization for persons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind, no other member on the Advisory Council shall also represent that organization;

    (B) two members who are each a parent or guardian of a child who is Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind;

    (C) two members who serve persons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind in a professional capacity, provided that these members do not represent the same organization;

    (D) a professional deaf-education specialist who understands all communication and language modes;

    (E) a professional interpreter; and

    (F) an audiologist or hard-of-hearing education specialist;

    (2) the Senior Counselor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Department's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation or designee;

    (3) the Secretary of Education or designee;

    (4) the Secretary of Human Services or designee;

    (5) the director of the Department for Children and Families' Children's Integrated Services or designee;

    (6) the director of the Vermont Early Detection and Intervention Project;

    (7) a representative of the Vermont Association of the Deaf;

    (8) a superintendent, selected by the Vermont Superintendents Association; and

    (9) a special education administrator, selected by the Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators.

    (c) Powers and duties.

    (1) The Advisory Council shall assess the services, resources, and opportunities available to children in the State who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind. It may consider and make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor on the following:

    (A) the educational rights of children who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind, including full communication and language access in all educational environments and accessibility of qualified teachers, interpreters, and paraprofessionals;

    (B) appropriate and ongoing educational opportunities that recognize each child's unique learning needs, including access to a sufficient number of communication or language mode peers and exposure to adult role models who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind;

    (C) adequate family supports that promote both early development of communication skills and informed participation by parents and guardians in the education of their children;

    (D) identification of all losses of or reductions in services arising from the closures of the Austine School for the Deaf and the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and evaluation of the adequacy of existing services and resources, as well as identification of those resources not currently available, adequate, or accessible to children;

    (E) opportunities to restore and expand educational opportunities to children in the State who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind and their families; and

    (F) appropriate data collection and reporting requirements concerning students with disabilities.

    (2) The Advisory Council shall assess the services, resources, and opportunities available to adults and elders in the State who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind. It may consider and make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor on the following:

    (A) the needs of and opportunities for adults and elders within the State who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind and their families;

    (B) the adequacy and systemic coordination of existing services and resources for adults and elders throughout the State who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind and their families;

    (C) proposed legislation and administrative rules pertaining to adults and elders who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind; and

    (D) delivery models in other states as a point of comparison for the adequacy and systemic coordination of Vermont's existing services and resources for adults and elders who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind.

    (d) Assistance. The Advisory Council shall have the administrative, technical, and legal assistance of the Agencies of Education and of Human Services. The Advisory Council and Department may consult with national experts on education of persons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind as necessary to fulfill their obligations under this section.

    (e) Reports. On or before January 15 of each year, notwithstanding 2 V.S.A. § 20(d), the Advisory Council shall submit a written report to the Senate and House Committees on Education, the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, the House Committee on Human Services, and the Governor with any findings and recommendations. A reading of each report shall be video recorded using ASL to ensure accessibility.

    (f) Appointments; meetings.

    (1) The Commissioner of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living shall convene the first meeting of the Advisory Council on or before July 1, 2016 and shall select interpreting services, computer assisted captioning in real time (CART), or FM listening systems for the meeting if a member so requests.

    (2) At its first meeting, the Advisory Council shall elect a chair and vice chair.

    (3) The Chair shall select interpreting services, CART, or FM listening systems for any Advisory Council meeting if a member so requests.

    (4) The Advisory Council may meet up to eight times each year to perform its functions under this section. The Secretaries of Education and of Human Services may jointly authorize additional meetings.

    (5) The Advisory Council may organize its members into subcommittees to carry out the purposes of this section, including subcommittees designed to address specific age groups within the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind population.

    (g) Reimbursement.

    (1) Members of the Advisory Council who are not State employees or otherwise compensated or reimbursed for their attendance shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 1010, payable by the Department.

    (2) The Agency of Human Services shall pay for interpreting services, CART, or FM listening systems necessary to conduct all Advisory Council meetings.

    (3) The Agency of Education, Department of Health, and Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living shall share costs for interpreting services, CART, or FM listening systems necessary to conduct all Advisory Council subcommittee meetings. (Added 2015, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 12, 2016.)