Washington State House Democrats


Senate Passes Bill to Ensure Continuity of Developmental Disability Services for Children

OLYMPIA — If a child is diagnosed with a developmental disability at a young age, the diagnosis is usually indefinite and lifelong, yet we continue to put up barriers to accessing valuable support. House Bill 1407, sponsored by Representative Jamila Taylor (D-Federal Way), which provides continuity of developmental disability services for children, has been passed unanimously in both the State House and Senate. The bill ensures that the eligibility of a child under age 18, who has been determined eligible for developmental disability services on or after the child’s third birthday, may not be terminated or require redetermination solely on the basis of the child’s age. 

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) assists individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to obtain services and support based on individual preferences, capabilities, and needs. 

If a child is determined eligible for DSHS services before age three, eligibility currently expires on the child’s fourth birthday. Eligibility for a child determined eligible at or after age three based on developmental delays or Down syndrome expires on the child’s tenth birthday. 

Requiring reevaluation places a hard burden on youths and their families. It is time-consuming and may cause lapses in receiving services. A disruption in services can put both a youth and their family into crisis. This is an unnecessary process for disabilities that don’t go away. This bill will prevent those lapses and help these families. 

The bill modifies the DSHS rulemaking authority relating to redetermination of eligibility for developmental disability services. It provides that rules may not terminate or require redetermination of eligibility for a child under age 18 based solely on the child’s age if the child has been determined to be eligible for services on or after the child’s third birthday. 

“This bill is important for the continuity of services for children with developmental disabilities. We want to ensure that children and families are not unnecessarily burdened by the redetermination process, especially when the disability is not something that will go away,” said Taylor. 

House Bill 1407 is headed back to the House for concurrence, and ultimately, to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.