Governor Scott Co-Hosts APD Town Hall

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, “We are working to make sure that 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 nearly 370,000 private-sector jobs and our unemployment rate is below the national average. 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.”

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 Stuart 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 care 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.

Ruth Wingate, and APD advocate and Family care Council member said, “I am proud that collaborative efforts of the Family Care Councils, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Florida’s Legislature and the Governor made the Medicaid Waiver for people with Developmental Disabilities available to an increased number of Florida families in 2013.”

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.info@apdcares.org. 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.

 

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