Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

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APD Schedules Town Hall Meetings

TALLAHASSEE —The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) and the Family Care Councils have scheduled five Town Hall meetings in North Florida. APD Director Barbara Palmer will present a state of the agency, share an update on the approved Florida Families First budget, then lead a question and answer session with attendees.

Director Palmer said, “Our first few Town Hall meetings have gone very well and I want to continue to talk to our stakeholders about our agency.  I especially enjoy listening to individuals and families who are served by APD about their concerns and successes.”

If individuals are not able to attend a Town Hall meeting, they may submit questions through Twitter @FloridaAPD and Director Palmer will read the question and respond to it during a meeting.

The next APD Town Hall meetings will be at the following locations:

JACKSONVILLE
July 9, 6-8 p.m.
The Arc Jacksonville
1050 Davis Street
Jacksonville, FL 32209

DAYTONA BEACH
July 10, 2-4 p.m.
University of Central Florida
1200 W International Speedway Blvd
Building 150, Room 101
Daytona Beach, FL
Parking is in Lot Orange B

PANAMA CITY
July 17, 1-3 p.m.
Holley Language and Literature Building
Sarzin Lecture Hall
Gulf Coast State College
5230 W. Hwy 98
Panama City, FL 32401

PENSACOLA
July 18, 3-5 p.m.
Marcus Point Baptist Church
6205 N W St
Pensacola, FL 32505

GAINESVILLE
July 25, 10 a.m.-noon
Department of Transportation
2301 NW 39th Avenue
Gainesville, FL

To find out the latest schedule of APD Town Hall meetings, visit APDCares.org.  Director Palmer will visit every region of the state to hear ways the agency can improve its services to citizens with developmental disabilities.

To encourage attendance at the APD Town Hall meetings, APD is launching the Picture This campaign. Town Hall attendees are asked to take a digital photo with 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 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.

APD annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with the developmental disabilities of autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, spina bifida, and Prader-Willi syndrome. To learn more about the agency, call 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273) or visit APDcares.org.


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Town Hall Meeting in Largo

In case you missed the Town Hall meeting in Largo you can view the full meeting on the Florida Channel’s website by visiting the following link:

 

http://thefloridachannel.org/video/62713-agency-for-persons-with-disabilities-town-hall-meeting-in-largo/


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Governor Scott Celebrates $36 Million in Funding for APD Waiting List

FORT MYERS, FL—Governor Rick Scott today visited LARC, Inc. in Fort Myers to announce an additional $36 million in funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) waiver waiting list.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Living in your own home and having a job are what all Floridians want, including those with disabilities. With our $36 million investment, we will be changing people’s lives for the better so they may live their version of the American Dream. For the first time in eight years, we will move more than 750 people off the APD waiting list so that they will receive the services they need to participate in their community and develop skills to find a job. ”

Governor Scott’s 2013-2014 Florida Families First budget includes $1.1 billion total for APD, including for the first time in eight years, $36 million that will allow individuals on the waiting list to enroll in the APD Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver so they will receive services in their local communities. Those with the most urgent needs will benefit from this new funding.

The new 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.

The budget 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. Leaders of organizations that serve people with disabilities unanimously praised the approved budget.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I want to thank Governor Scott and members of the Legislature for their confidence and strong support of APD. We are ready to begin helping those with the most critical needs in the coming year.”

Roger Bradley, Executive Director for LARC, Inc. said, “With the $36.3 million for the waiting list, the wait is over for those with the most severe disabilities who have been waiting an inordinate amount of time for services. An undesirable trend is now being reversed by Governor Rick Scott and our legislators because they listened and acted on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens. Hope has returned for many of our families! This new funding for employment targets students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are transitioning from high school to the adult world, and will enhance and hasten the opportunity for them to join the workforce without being first diverted to the couch. The direct route to employment is the most cost effective and efficient route for those who want to immediately go to work when they leave high school!”

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Board member Tricia Riccardi said, “We would like to thank the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott for approving the APD budget as this will help so many more people in Florida.”

Michele Poole, president of The Arc of Florida said, “The people who will come off of the Medicaid waiver waiting list have been eager to receive services for a very long time and are grateful for the assistance. We thank Governor Scott and the Legislature for taking this step in the right direction.”

Family Care Council Florida Past Chair Betty Kay Clements said, “I want to thank Governor Rick Scott and Florida Legislators for their attention to individuals with developmental disabilities that the Agency for Persons with Disabilities serves. The 2013-14 Florida Families First budget addresses for the first time in eight years, people on the waiting list for the APD Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver.  There will be dramatic and positive changes in the lives of at least 750 people and their families. Individuals will receive critical services and supports that will enhance the quality of their lives and increase opportunities for them in their communities. This is wonderful news for them and their families. It is a step in the right direction and one that gives hope to those waiting for services.”

Additionally, the Florida Families First budget contains $1.4 million for improvements to William J. Rish Park on Cape San Blas in Gulf County. Rish Park is a state park that was built and designed for people with disabilities. Facilities at the park were damaged many years ago by a hurricane and have been unusable.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities.  The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1 866 APD CARES (1 866 273 2273).