Representative Bill Blessing Introduces House Bill 299
Legislation Seeks to Allow Easier Application for Autism Scholarships

State Representative Bill Blessing (R-Colerain) today announced that he has recently introduced House Bill 299, legislation that would allow a temporary, legal, or permanent guardian of a qualified child to apply for an Autism Scholarship. Representative Jeffery Rezabek (R-Clayton) is a joint sponsor of the legislation.


The impetus for the bill derived from a constituent case that Rep. Blessing’s office recently worked on. A young girl from the 29th House District had previously received an Autism Scholarship and with it had made significant progress. However, when the family she was living with became her legal custodians, she no longer qualified for the scholarship and therefore lost it.


“I am very excited about this piece of legislation because I believe it will help many children that are struggling due to unfortunate circumstances in their lives,” Blessing said. “Children should not have to suffer and struggle because those that are responsible for them do not fit a certain definition of parent. I am confident that this will help many children get the help that they need to succeed in the classroom as well as in everyday life.”


Current language regarding the Autism Scholarship only allows a natural or adoptive parent to sign the child’s application. This differs considerably from a similar scholarship, the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship. House Bill 299 would align the language in both scholarships, which would allow the child’s custodian to apply for whichever best suits the child’s needs.


By changing the definition of a parent to include temporary, legal, or permanent custodians for the Autism Scholarship, more children who suffer from autism will be able to apply. Thus, by applying and ideally receiving the scholarship, more children with autism will have access to the funds and care they need to develop and learn successfully.

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