To the approval of advocates of children with disabilities, the U.S. Senate completed some long-awaited action earlier this month, passing the Family Opportunity Act and overwhelmingly reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Work on both pieces of legislation remains to be done, however. The House of Representatives must take up the Medicaid-focused Family Opportunity Act, also known as the Dylan Lee James Act. And the IDEA reauthorization bill that the House passed last year differs fundamentally from the newly approved Senate version, particularly in the controversial area of disciplining students; the two bills will need to be reconciled in a House-Senate committee.
Children's advocates are pleased with the Senate's passage of the legislation--especially during a time of budget concerns on the domestic front and pressing military and international demands.
"It's really heartening to see movement of mental health and disability issues this year because the feeling was so little would be done because of fewer legislative days (due to the November general election), international concerns, budget concerns and the whole appropriations …