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Legislation would transfer Delaware Autism Program to Dept. of Ed

Delaware Public Media

Proposed legislation could move the Delaware Autism Program from the Christina School District to the Delaware Department of Education.

Christina School District has historically administered Delaware’s statewide Autism program.

But State Rep. Kim Williams’ (D-Newport) bill would move it to the DOE. She said all of the statewide education programs should be under one roof.

“And it’s hard for families to try to figure out who they’re supposed to talk to," she said. "Are they supposed to talk to DHSS? Are they supposed to talk to DOE? Are they supposed to talk to Christina School District? So we’re just trying to organize everything to be a better fit for our constituents.”

Christina School Board member John Young opposes the legislation.

“And I’m very disappointed at the sponsorship and co-sponsorship of that bill, from the perspective of not reaching out to the district that’s run the program for 30 plus years,” he said.

Young said the district and DOE recently hammered out an agreement that specifies Christina’s administration of the autism program.

He worries about autistic children suffering if this change is made - and is concerned about the fate of group homes that could close if DAP administration is transferred to the state.

Williams bill comes a few months after the Office of Management and Budget sought to transfer administration of the program to DOE.  OMB made that decision in October 2018, but DOE didn’t inform Christina until late January. OMB ultimately kept the program at Christina.


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