Disabilities Stakeholders Praise Governor Scott’s Florida Families First Budget

Governor Scott Recognizes Korinne Kaliher with the Idelio Valdes Award

Governor Rick Scott today, shared his proposed 2013-2014 budget, Florida Families First Budget, which provides $36 million in much needed funding to people on the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) waiver waiting list during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day at the Capitol. More than 22,000 people are on the APD waiting list. The $36 million increase will allow individuals on the waiting list to enroll in the APD Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver so they will receive services in their local communities. This new funding is part of the $1.1 billion budget being proposed for APD in the coming year.

The Florida Families First Budget also includes $2.5 million to assist people on the waiver waiting list who have indicated that they want to go to work. The funding will pay for job internships and supported employment job coaches for about 1,000 people with developmental disabilities.

Governor Rick Scott said, “We are working to make sure every Florida family has the opportunity to get a job and a great education, and from our efforts – it’s working. Since Dec. 2010, Florida has created around 200,000 private-sector jobs and our unemployment rate continues to drop. Our commitment to helping people on the APD waiver waiting list, as well as assisting people who want to work, is another step in our plan to ensure that every Floridian has an opportunity to live the American Dream.”

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “We greatly appreciate Governor Scott’s support of our work to improve the agency. We have been meeting with families and stakeholders to determine the best approach to begin serving people on our waiting list. We hope the legislature will also see the importance of this critical funding for the agency. The additional money for employment opportunities will help individuals to become self-sufficient, enhance their quality of life, and benefit their families and Florida’s economy.”

Lou Ogburn, chairperson of the Tallahassee Family Care Council and mother of a daughter with a disability, said, “I am very pleased with the governor’s budget proposal for APD for the upcoming fiscal year. This funding is much needed. I am particularly pleased to see that money is being directed to the waiting list. While it doesn’t eliminate the list, it is a step in the right direction. In today’s society, providing tax dollars to support individuals with disabilities so they may live in the least restrictive environment and be a viable part of their community is the right thing to do.”

Governor Scott awarded Sarasota resident Korinne Kaliher the Fourth Annual Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy award. Kaliher was honored for her exemplary personal achievements and her efforts in promoting disability awareness throughout her community.

Named in honor of Idelio Valdes – a South Florida resident, member of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), and self-advocate who passed away in November 2009 – the award was first presented in 2010. Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day is an annual event that serves as a forum to generate awareness and provide information about the value and importance of inclusion and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Kaliher, a student at the Academy for Community transition at Oak Park in Sarasota, is a member of the Developmental Disabilities Committee of the Community Alliance of Sarasota County, and has spoken on disability awareness issues to the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast, Florida and the Home Depot store in Sarasota.

“Korinne has a positive outlook and is always encouraging people with disabilities to get out in the community and become active, participating members of society,” said FDDC Chair Kathy McAllister. “She believes in making the world a better place and sharing her message of valuing and accepting persons with disabilities, emphasizing one’s ability rather than their disability. She has found her niche as a public speaker and has a wonderful message to share with everyone she meets.”


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