The act creates the training veterans to train their own service dogs pilot program (program) and the training veterans to train their own service dogs pilot program fund (fund). The purpose of the program is to identify a group of up to 10 eligible veterans, as defined by federal law and who have been referred by a qualified mental health professional, to participate in the program and to pair with dogs. The dogs will be identified by qualified canine trainers in conjunction with the veterans. The participants will foster, train, and ultimately utilize the dog he or she has been paired with as a service or companion animal. The program will further offer those veterans who graduate from the program with a trained dog the opportunity and necessary follow-along services to expand the program, if willing, through identifying, fostering, and training a subsequent dog for another eligible veteran who is unable to complete one or more parts of the process due to physical or other limitations.
The executive director of the department of human services (director) shall establish and post criteria, including eligibility criteria, for the program. The director shall establish guidelines and timelines for a request for proposals process to select two nonprofit agencies that represent different counties (nonprofits) to facilitate operations for the program. The chosen nonprofits shall record and report measurable outcomes to the director.
The fund consists of any money appropriated by the general assembly or any gifts, grants, or donations received by the department for the program.
For the 2016-17 state fiscal year, $100,000 is appropriated to the fund from the general fund. (Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)