BARTOW, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott joined Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Director, Barbara
Palmer, to host an APD Town Hall meeting to discuss the state of the agency and highlight $36 million in funding from the 2013-2014 Florida Families First Budget.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I want every Floridian, including those with disabilities, to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of finding a job and live their version of the American dream. With our $36 million investment, we will be making a big impact on many families throughout the state. For the first time in eight years, we are helping more than 750 people move off the APD waiting list where they will receive the services they need to participate in their community and develop skills to find employment. I am pleased that many people across Florida are being move off of the APD waiting list.”
The Florida Families First budget includes $1.1 billion for APD. $36 million of that funding will allow individuals on the waiting list to enroll in the APD Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver and start receiving services in their local communities. Those with the most critical needs will benefit from this new funding.
APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “We are excited that Governor Scott co-hosted our Bartow APD Town Hall meeting. It is wonderful that the governor is hearing firsthand about successes and challenges of our agency. It has been too many years since a governor took such an in depth interest in APD and has shown such concern and caring for the people we serve. We look forward to working with Governor Scott to conquer our challenges and continue to increase the number of successes in the future for individuals with developmental disabilities.”
The Florida Families First budget also includes a one-time appropriation of $40 million ($17 million in state funding, $23 million federal match) to pay off the waiver deficit from prior fiscal years. With this funding, APD is projecting to be within its appropriation for the first time in many years.
The Florida Families First budget also includes about $500,000 to assist people on the waiver waiting list who have indicated that they want to go to work. The funding will pay for supported employment services to help 200 people with developmental disabilities obtain and maintain jobs and internships.
Shirley A Balogh, President and CEO of Alliance for Independence, Inc. said, Governor Scott is to be commended for the additional $36 million dollars allocated for persons with developmental disabilities. These dollars will provide much needed services through providers as well as serve individuals who have been on the waiting list for years. Those individuals and their families can now find relief to the long awaited services they need.
Governor Scott’s involvement with the community efforts to advance the support for individuals with disabilities is to be applauded.”
To encourage attendance at the APD Town Hall meetings, APD launched the Picture This campaign, where Town Hall attendees were asked to take a digital photo with the Governor and Director Palmer before or after the meeting with their camera or smart phone, and then send it to APD.email@example.com. The photos will then be posted on the APD website and on APD social media. One photo will be picked to be highlighted in the APD Champion newsletter each month.