Taking a Pivotal Step toward Inclusive Early Learning for Children with Disabilities, Senate Bill 722 Signed into Law

Senator Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) has announced that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed her Senate Bill 722. This bill will require the Department of Social Services (DSS) to create an Incidental Medical Services Plan (IMSP) template so children with disabilities can attend early learning and childcare (ELC) programs in a timely manner.

"We are not just enacting a law with the Governor's signature; we are sending a clear message that every child deserves equal opportunities for early education, regardless of their abilities," said Senator Ochoa Bogh. "This is a significant step toward a more inclusive California. I am grateful for the opportunity to work together to remove barriers to childcare and improve outcomes for children with disabilities and their families."

The signing of SB 722 addresses the longstanding challenges faced by parents of children with disabilities in securing childcare. The previous system, which required ELC providers to amend their Plan of Operation to incorporate an IMSP and then await DSS approval, was identified as cumbersome and led to significant delays. As required by this new law, the introduction of a standardized IMSP template aims to expedite this process and ensure timely access to childcare for children with disabilities.

“Having Senate Bill 722 signed into law is a significant step in ensuring inclusive educational practices,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “Now even the youngest scholars regardless of their abilities will have access to childcare and early learning settings. I am thankful for those who worked on behalf of students to get SB 722 signed into law.”

“We are grateful for Governor Newsom’s continued support of inclusive early childhood education by signing SB 722. At its core, this bill removes administrative barriers that currently prevent children with exceptional needs from attending daycare and preschool programs,” said Dr. Edwin Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. “This bill will ensure a streamlined enrollment process for our youngest learners to more rapidly access early intervention services so they are well prepared to enter our school system ready to succeed.”

Recent data has shown that students with disabilities in California lagged significantly behind state standards in key areas like English language arts and math. The signing of SB 722 is a beacon of hope for these students and their families, aiming to bridge this gap and champion the cause of inclusive early education.