BabyNet Public Hearings & Comment Period

Early Hearing Detection Act Reauthorization

   Sign Language Interpreter Act


1. BabyNet Public Hearings

>> Comments from parents, educators, policymakers, and the provider community are wanted on a change with BabyNet.

What is BabyNet?

BabyNet is South Carolina’s interagency early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental delays, or who have conditions associated with developmental delays.

Why have BabyNet?

Young children learn and develop differently. One baby may walk earlier than another, while another baby might talk first. Often, these differences will even out. But, some children will need extra help. BabyNet will evaluate the child at no cost to determine if they may be eligible for services.

BabyNet matches the special needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays with the professional resources available within the community. Services are provided in everyday routines, activities, and places relevant to the life of the family.

How does one connect with BabyNet?

Anyone (a parent, doctor, caregiver, teacher or friend) can make a referral. Look for signs that an infant or toddler might need extra help. If you suspect a child may have a problem, the earlier you get help, the better!

What is the change happening with BabyNet?

South Carolina’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C program, known in South Carolina as “BabyNet,” will be transferred from SC First Steps to the SC Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) on July 1, 2017 after Executive Order 2016-20 was issued by the President.

The South Carolina Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) is holding several public hearings for comments on this change. Specifically regarding the 2017-18 IDEA Part C Grant Application, changes to BabyNet Policies and Procedures, and the lead agency transfer.

What can I do?

  1.     Provide written public comment here
  2.     Attend and comment at the public hearing in your area listed below:

To read the existing approved policies:

To learn more about BabyNet:


2. Early Hearing Detection Act Reauthorization | Federal Bill

>> Several Senators have introduced a bill that would reauthorize newborn hearing tests.

What is the bill?

The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that was introduced in both the House and Senate, would reauthorize a federal program for newborn hearing tests.

Why is this bill important?

This Act provides federal funding critical to South Carolina’s mandated newborn hearing screenings. Without our state’s program, just imagine how many children wouldn’t have been identified early on. Beginnings SC speaks constantly about and works constantly to ensure that children are identified early on so that they can begin receiving early intervention and making strides in language development so they are ready for school.

Why is early hearing detection important?

“So much of a child’s development happens in the first few years of their life, which is why early detection and intervention is so important. This bill will ensure that more infants have access to critical hearing screenings, so parents can be informed about the options for their children’s care. I’m pleased to join Congressman Guthrie in introducing this important legislation that will improve health, social, and educational outcomes for kids as they grow.” – Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06)

“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills. This bill takes important steps to improve early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children, and I’m hopeful we can move this legislation quickly in a strong bipartisan way.” – Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

What would the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act do?

“The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act reauthorizes and improves critical programs that ensure we are properly diagnosing and treating hearing loss in newborns, infants, and young children. Access to these services meets an important public health need for families across the country. We know that early intervention means improved outcomes, and our bill will benefit the families of hard-of-hearing children who rely on these services.” – Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)

What can I do?

  1.     Contact your representatives. This is a bipartisan noncontroversial piece of legislation. It currently has no SC sponsors.
  2.     Call, email, send a letter, or visit them in person. A phone call is better than an email. You won’t get much time on a phone call but speak from your perspective as a parent.
  3.     Find your representatives.

Learn more about the Bill.

Learn more about SC’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program.


3. Sign Language Interpreter Act | State Bill

>> A bill has been introduced in SC regarding Sign Language Interpreters.

What is the bill?

Senator Katrina Shealy recently introduced the Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040 to the SC Senate. It has since been referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce, and Industry.

Why is this bill important?

This bill would require sign language interpreters to have a specific level of competence in order to work in certain state entities, such as government, public schools, hospitals, etc…

Can I see the actual bill?

Yes – you can see it in print or ASL!

What can I do?

  1.     Contact your legislators.
  2.     Find your representatives: Print | ASL


Legislators 101

How do I find my legislators?

  1. Go to:
  2. Type in your address and click “Find Legislators.”

Below is an example using Beginnings’ office address.

Which legislators would I contact about The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017 vs. the Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040?

  • The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017 is a federal piece of legislation. This means you would contact your United States Senators and Representative.
  • The Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040 is a piece of legislation for South Carolina, so you would contact your South Carolina State Senator and Representative.

How do I contact them?

If you click on their names, you will be taken to either their profile or their own website. From here you can find their contact information.

Ex: US Senator


Ex: SC Senator:

Is it intimidating to contact my legislators?

It might seem intimidating to contact your legislators, especially over the phone or in person, but it shouldn’t be. In this case, you are the expert. You’re a parent, a professional, or a community member who knows about this issue first hand. You have real-life examples from your real life. This is your opportunity to be the expert—educate your legislators about these issues that are near and dear to your heart. Just remember, you’re the expert, and this is how our legislators are able to represent us in their decisions.

If we don’t tell them, they’ll never know.

Tell them.