Hundreds of Floridians concerned about quality care, funding and quality transportation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as those who are transportation disadvantaged gathered at the state Capitol today for the 2019 Developmental Disabilities and Transportation Awareness Day.
Hosted by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), The Arc of Florida and the Florida Public Transportation Association, self-advocates, families and caregivers from around the state showed the importance of direct care services, alternative approaches to transportation and the need for increased state funding for such services.
“The quality of life and the health and safety of our fellow citizens with developmental disabilities is at risk due to the staffing crisis we face,” stated Deborah Linton, CEO of The Arc of Florida.
Currently, Florida lacks the funding and resources to meet the increasing need for quality direct care services, transportation options and supportive healthcare and work programs, making it difficult and sometimes nearly impossible for hundreds of individuals to carry out daily functions, such as seek and maintain employment or continue their education. During the event’s awareness rally, various guest speakers presented perspectives, experiences and testimonials, all with a primary message of promoting a more inclusive and meaningful life for Floridians – a call to Florida lawmakers to consider the funding for services and programs that support these individuals in their every day lives.
“The inability to find direct care assistance leads to many problems for individuals and their families,” said Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), Executive Director Valerie Breen. “With this event, we want to inspire change, allow Floridians to live meaningful lives and help people participate in the workforce.”
Lisa Bacot, executive director of the Florida Public Transportation Association added, “The lack of reliable transportation services is one of the top barriers to any individual leading a productive, healthy and active lifestyle. By partnering together to hold this event, we can bring more awareness to this issue and help build better solutions.”
In addition to the awareness rally, attendees had the opportunity to speak with legislators, visit support organizations’ exhibits and connect with others for a unified voice of advocacy and change.
The Arc of Florida, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for persons with developmental disabilities. Working with local, state and national partners, The Arc of Florida advocates for local chapters, public policies and high quality supports for people with developmental and other disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of their community.
The Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) is a non-profit association whose members include every major public transit agency in Florida as well as interested citizens and businesses. FPTA’s mission is to continuously support public transportation in Florida through advocacy, innovation, education, and partnerships.
The mission of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) is to advocate and promote meaningful participation in all aspects of life for Floridians with developmental disabilities.