(1) The agency shall give priority to the development, planning, and implementation of programs which have the potential to prevent, correct, cure, or reduce the severity of developmental disabilities. The agency shall direct an interagency and interprogram effort for the continued development of a prevention plan and program. The agency shall identify, through demonstration projects, through program evaluation, and through monitoring of programs and projects conducted outside of the agency, any medical, social, economic, or educational methods, techniques, or procedures that have the potential to effectively ameliorate, correct, or cure developmental disabilities. The agency shall determine the costs and benefits that would be associated with such prevention efforts and shall implement, or recommend the implementation of, those methods, techniques, or procedures which are found likely to be cost-beneficial.
(2) Prevention services provided by the agency shall include services to high-risk children from 3 to 5 years of age, and their families, to meet the intent of chapter 411. Except for services for children from birth to age 3 years which are the responsibility of the Division of Children’s Medical Services in the Department of Health or part H of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, such services may include:
(a) Individual evaluations or assessments necessary to diagnose a developmental disability or high-risk condition and to determine appropriate, individual family and support services.
(b) Early intervention services, including developmental training and specialized therapies.
(c) Support services, such as respite care, parent education and training, parent-to-parent counseling, homemaker services, and other services which allow families to maintain and provide quality care to children in their homes.
(3) Other agencies of state government shall cooperate with and assist the agency, within available resources, in implementing programs which have the potential to prevent, or reduce the severity of, developmental disabilities and shall consider the findings and recommendations of the agency in developing and implementing agency programs and formulating agency budget requests.
(4) There is created at the developmental disabilities center in Gainesville a research and education unit. Such unit shall be named the Raymond C. Philips Research and Education Unit. The functions of such unit shall include:
(a) Research into the etiology of developmental disabilities.
(b) Ensuring that new knowledge is rapidly disseminated throughout the agency.
(c) Diagnosis of unusual conditions and syndromes associated with developmental disabilities in clients identified throughout developmental disabilities programs.
(d) Evaluation of families of clients with developmental disabilities of genetic origin in order to provide them with genetic counseling aimed at preventing the recurrence of the disorder in other family members.
(e) Ensuring that health professionals in the developmental disabilities center at Gainesville have access to information systems that will allow them to remain updated on newer knowledge and maintain their postgraduate education standards.
(f) Enhancing staff training for professionals throughout the agency in the areas of genetics and developmental disabilities.