Family Initiative fights for customizable school choice, learning options for students with unique abilities
Family Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting children and families with autism, recently participated in the introduction of Florida House Bill 1 (HB 1), which would provide access to education savings accounts (ESA) and expand eligibility to children with unique abilities.
HB 1, filed by Choice and Innovation Subcommittee Chair Kaylee Tuck (R–Lake Placid) and endorsed by Republican Florida House Speaker Paul Renner and several other house representatives, HB 1 increases access to innovative educational resources, allowing parents of students with disabilities to customize their child’s education.
In addition to a variety of public options, Florida offers scholarship programs for students with disabilities to attend private schools. These programs currently include the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), the Family Empowerment Scholarship for students attending private school (FESEO) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for students with disabilities (FES-UA). HB 1 would eliminate eligibility requirements and expand opportunities to all eligible students, although families below the federal poverty level would maintain priority status for receiving the scholarships.
“As an organization that advocates in the best interest of students and families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Family Initiative supports HB 1 as a win-win as it greatly increases the number of students with disabilities served by these programs, helps eliminate the current waitlist and empowers parents with more options for their child,” said David Brown, Family Initiative’s president and co-founder. “I cannot emphasize how important this legislation is to providing families a choice to assess and decide which educational option is best for their child.”
The Florida House of Representatives Choice and Innovation Subcommittee continues to hear testimony on HB 1 this week.
About Family Initiative
Established in 2015, Family Initiative, Inc. is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to supporting children with autism and strengthening their families. Its team of clinicians serves children from a compassionate, personalized approach through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Occupational Therapy (OT) services, and offers autism play groups, teen meetings, parent education, community conversations and more. In addition, the organization provides child welfare caregiver training and support through its Family Impact Program. Visit fi-florida.org or find Family Initiative on Facebook and Instagram at @FamilyInitiative and on Twitter at @FI_Inc.