Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

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Governor Rick Scott Appoints Twelve to Family Care Councils

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced ten appointments and two reappointments to Family Care Councils across the state.

Area Two, Family Care Council
John Chafin, 78, of Tallahassee, was the former Leon County Tax Collector from 1980-2001. He succeeds David Norton and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending October 11, 2016.

Area Four, Family Care Council
Shiela Bryant Butler, 52, of Middleburg, is the president of Black Creek Supports and Services Inc. She succeeds Maria Quinones and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending August 6, 2016.

Area Eight, Family Care Council
Barbara Jamison, 59, of Cape Coral, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. She succeeds Susan Robertson and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending August 27, 2016.

Patricia Oglesby, 54, of Fort Myers, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. She is reappointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending August 24, 2017.

Area Nine, Family Care Council
Ruthie Bunkelmann, 52, of North Palm Beach, is a social worker with Pediatric Partners and Positive Behavior Supports Corporation. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending March 19, 2018.

Terri Harmon, 56, of Boca Raton, is the executive director of Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending March 19, 2018.

Elaine Scola, 63, of Lake Worth, is a partner at Equity Financial Services LLC. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending March 19, 2018.

Martha Stuart, 63, of Lake Worth, is a retired teacher for Chariho Regional Schools. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending March 19, 2018.

Area Twelve, Family Care Council
Christopher Spears, 40, of Ormond Beach, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending March 19, 2018.

Joseph Young, 44, of Ormond Beach, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending March 19, 2018.

Mary Ellen Ottman, 60, of Ormond Beach, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. She succeeds Susan Tanner and is appointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending January 23, 2017.

Area Fourteen, Family Care Council
Michael Daniels, 48, of Lakeland, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. He is reappointed for a term beginning March 20, 2015, and ending June 29, 2017.


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Cabinet to Declare Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month – The Arc Dental Program to be Highlighted

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Attorney General Pam Bondi will introduce a resolution at the Florida Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, March 10, declaring the month of March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Florida.

Representatives from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, The Arc of Florida, and the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities will be there to accept the resolution.

Department of Revenue employee and APD customer Talmadge Morton will address Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on the importance of funding employment services for people with disabilities.

In addition, The Arc of Florida Executive Director Deborah Linton will share successes from its dental program that serves people with developmental with disabilities throughout the state. More than 11,600 dental procedures have been performed on needy individuals who are unable to locate a dentist to meet their needs.

The Cabinet meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Cabinet meeting room on the lower level of the Capitol Building.

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).


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“KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” Budget Eliminates Critical Needs Waiting List for Second Year in a Row

Third Year to Fund Waiting List Enrollment

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Florida Governor Rick Scott is again recommending funding to serve individuals with critical needs on the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) waiver waiting list. Governor Scott’s proposed 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget includes $1.16 billion for APD with $8 million to serve the waiting list. The money will be used to enroll about 400 individuals into the APD Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver so they can use this funding for community services. This is the third year the Governor has recommended money to serve the waiting list and the second year in a row that the Governor has taken the action to eliminate the waiting list.

Governor Scott said, “We are excited that we are recommending the funding to again eliminate the critical needs waiting list this year. These life changing investments will create more opportunities for all Floridians to get the care and treatment they deserve.”

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I cannot thank Governor Scott enough for his continued support of individuals with disabilities. For the third year, Governor Scott is recommending funding to serve people on the waiting list with critical needs. This money will allow everyone with critical needs to enroll into the Medicaid waiver in the coming year. For the past two years, APD has carefully managed its budget while also enrolling new individuals into the Medicaid waiver, which many people thought would be impossible. I appreciate Governor Scott’s ongoing confidence in APD and the people we serve.”

Also for the third year, Governor Scott’s budget proposal includes $2 million to assist people on the waiver and the waiting list who have indicated that they want to go to work. This funding will pay for Supported Employment and supported internship services for people with developmental disabilities.

Additionally, Governor Scott is recommending $2.9 million for a new APD data system that will provide service-specific information from providers regarding service delivery dates and progress, as well as better verification that services were delivered at the times and locations that were authorized by the agency.  Additionally, this data system will include an electronic client central record that will provide the agency with information that can be used to more effectively serve individuals with developmental disabilities by providing electronic information that will track provider services and the progress of the client.

Family Care Council Florida Chairperson Pauline Lipps said, “We applaud Governor Scott for his continued efforts to reduce the waiting list of individuals with developmental disabilities across the state of Florida. Through these efforts and the Employment First Initiative, individuals will be afforded the opportunity to pursue employment services in the community that could reduce the barriers of finding competitive employment for individuals with disabilities.”

Betty Kay Clements, parent and past chairperson of the Family Care Council Florida, said, “I am so pleased that Governor Scott’s 2015 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget includes $2 million for APD to continue to support the employment contribution that individuals with developmental disabilities can make as they highlight their many abilities.  Given the opportunity, their contribution is not just that of personal growth, self-esteem, and a paycheck, but a job well done that also benefits their communities and Florida’s employers. Everyone benefits!”

The Association of Support Coordination Agencies of Florida chairperson Janice Phillips said, “We appreciate Governor Scott who continues to embrace the issues facing individuals with developmental disabilities. Providing money to move people with critical needs off the waiting list is an important priority, and I am so happy it is a priority of the governor too. Helping individuals move forward toward their goals is what we all want.  I am pleased that funding has been earmarked to assist people with disabilities with their employment goals.  Having a job is extremely important to everyone, including those with disabilities who are trying to enter the workforce and become productive citizens of our state.”

Area 2 Family Care Council Chairperson Lou Ogburn said, “We applaud the Governor for his efforts to reduce the size of the waiting list.  We are also pleased he is providing help to the developmental disabilities community in employment.  It is critical for those who are able and want to work to be able to earn a paycheck.  His understanding and push to help overcome some of the hurdles with finding willing employers is so important.  We are also pleased with the money for a new Client Data Management System in order to more closely track the services to individuals with developmental disabilities so can be offered more timely when possible.”

Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities President and CEO Suzanne Sewell said, “We are thrilled to see that waiver enrollment will continue in the coming year and that the Governor is investing in a strong provider network to meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Providing community services to people with developmental disabilities is essential. We are pleased to see that Governor Scott is recommending about $8 million to continue to move new individuals into the Medicaid waiver and to ensure that a strong viable network is available to provide the services they need.”

“Special Olympics Florida applauds Governor Scott and the Legislature for dedicating critical funds that will help to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Florida. With this funding we are proud to work with APD to create communities statewide that value the contributions of all citizens,” President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida Sherry Wheelock.

To view the complete list of Governor Scott’s budget recommendations, visit www.KeepFloridaWorking.com.

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).


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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING…

Florida Leaders and Families Applaud Gov. Scott’s Proposed $8 Million for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Additional $5 Million for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced a proposed investment of $8 million to enroll all individuals with critical needs from the waiting list to the Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver Program. This is the second year in a row that funding is provided to remove all individuals with critical needs from the waiting list. Governor Scott’s 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also recommends an increase of $5 million, for a total of $23.4 million, for personal learning scholarship accounts for eligible K-12 students with disabilities.

Barbara Palmer, Director of Agency for Persons with Disabilities, “This is the third year in a row that Governor Scott has recommended funding to serve Floridians with disabilities on the APD waiting list, and it is the second year that we will be able to offer waiver enrollment to everyone with critical needs. This is wonderful news for individuals who will now be able to receive services in their own community.”

Pam Stewart, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education said, “I applaud Governor Scott for proposing increased funding for personal learning scholarships. Florida parents want their children to have every opportunity for success, and these additional funds will enable eligible K-12 students with disabilities to get the best education possible.”

 Doug Tuthill, President of Step Up For Students said, “Tomorrow’s leaders are in today’s classrooms, and I am thrilled that Governor Scott’s ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ Budget includes increased funding for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts. Parents know their children best and have the greatest understanding of what services meet their child’s needs. It is wonderful that more parents will have the opportunity to create customized education plans to ensure their children have the greatest chance at success.”

Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future said, “Florida children with unique abilities face some of the biggest obstacles on their path to education success. Governor Scott is showing his commitment to providing these students with a high-quality education by proposing increased funding for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts. This will allow more parents of eligible students with special needs to customize their children’s education in a way that best meets their learning needs.”

Betty Kay Clements, Past Chair of Family Care Council Florida said, “As a parent of a daughter with a disability and an advocate for other families in similar situations, I am happy to see Governor Scott’s recommendation for additional funding to continue to move people off the waiting list and onto the Medicaid waiver. The waiver truly helps to change lives by providing needed services to individuals with developmental disabilities, and are able to live full and happy lives in their local communities.”

Janice Phillips, Chair for the Association of Support Coordination Agencies in Florida said, “We appreciate Governor Scott’s continued understanding of the issues facing Floridians with developmental disabilities. Providing money to move individuals with critical needs off the waiting list is an important priority, and I am very thankful that it is a priority of Governor Scott and his administration as well.”

Lou Ogburn, Area 2 Family Care Council Chairperson said, “We applaud Governor Scott for his ongoing efforts to reduce the size of the Medicaid waiver waiting list. It is great news that the needed funding amount is available to eliminate the waiting list for the second year in a row. These families can be assured that their loved ones will be taken care of and receive the necessary services they need in the future.”

Sherry Wheelock, President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida said, “Special Olympics Florida applauds Governor Scott’s recommendation of increased funding that would ensure the well-being of Floridians with developmental disabilities. These investments are vital for individuals with disabilities to actively participate in their communities and achieve their dreams.”

Pauline Lipps, Chair of Family Care Council Florida said, “I am pleased to see funding for the waiting list three years in a row.  Families need the Medicaid waiver to help their loved ones thrive in their local communities. The waiver provides essential services so individuals with developmental disabilities are able to live and work just like everyone else. With this additional funding, everyone with critical needs on the waiting list will be offered waiver services which will be life-changing for those families.”

Georgia Dorsett LoCastro, Person with a disability and an APD employee said, “I think it is great that additional people with disabilities will be able to receive services in their own community. I thank Governor Scott for recommending more money to help individuals with developmental disabilities so they can go to work just like me.”

Michelle Favret, parent of a special needs child said, “Governor Scott’s proposed increase in funding for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts is great news for our family. The PLSA program has been a huge help for my daughter, and Governor Scott’s proposed funding increase will help our family, and others across the state, even further.”

Jeanine Schiavoni, parent of a special needs child said, “As a parent of a child with special needs, I am so thankful to Governor Scott for prioritizing students with disabilities in his ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ Budget.  For many years our family has worked so hard to provide all of the necessary accommodations, resources and therapies in order for our child to be as successful as possible in school and in everyday life. We have provided speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, social thinking therapy, physical therapy, tutoring, extracurricular activities, along with a special education program which provides a more one on one learning environment.  All of these accommodations have led us to where we are today. This Scholarship will enable our child to continue to be provided a smaller learning environment, including the necessary therapies and accommodations that go along with his particular needs. We are very grateful for this Personal Learning Scholarship. Governor Scott’s proposed funding increase for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts will help ensure my child has access to the resources he needs to be successful in school and in life.  I am glad more families like mine will be able to receive additional funding to help their children reach their full potential.”

Melissa Ward, parent of a special needs child said, “I think it’s really exciting that Governor Scott is proposing increased funding for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts. Thanks to the PLSA program our son, Ethan, is now able to receive therapy we used to have to put on the back burner. The PLSA program is a huge blessing for our family, and I am thrilled that Governor Scott’s proposal will help special needs children all across Florida receive the academic help they need.”


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Notice of Meeting/Workshop Hearing

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES
Agency for Persons with Disabilities
The Agency for Persons with Disabilities announces a public meeting regarding the iBudget algorithm to which all persons are invited.
DATE AND TIME: February 16, 2015, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., EST
This meeting will involve Microsoft Lync for sharing presentations over the internet. If you already have access to Microsoft Lync, please use the following link to join the meeting and then choose “Don’t join audio”:

https://meet.lync.com/apdfl/tracey.tolbert/D6JZLZ6J

In addition to the Microsoft Lync meeting it is necessary to also call in to the following number in order to access the audio. The call-in number and code are: 1.888.670.3525 Code: 510 653 9718.
If you do not already have Microsoft Lync installed, please follow the hotlink below and choose “Meeting Readiness”:
http://office.microsoft.com/client/helppreview.aspx?AssetId=HA102621125&lcid=1033&NS=OCO14&Version=14
You will be presented with two options: 1) install Active X or 2) download and install Microsoft Attendee. We recommend you install Microsoft Attendee.

PLACE: Agency for Persons with Disabilities, 4030 Esplanade Way, Room 301, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0950

GENERAL SUBJECT MATTER TO BE CONSIDERED: To invite input and feedback from Agency stakeholder groups, including self-advocates, family members, service providers, waiver coordinators, and advocacy organizations in updating and improving the algorithm formula used to predict resource needs for clients enrolled on the iBudget waiver and waiting list and used in the establishment of individual budgets for individuals on the waiver. The algorithm will provide an equitable distribution of available resources among individuals on the waiver based on an assessment process that includes client characteristics and a valid formal assessment instrument, and client choice of services and providers once the individual budget is determined. http://apdcares.org/publications/legal

Written comments may be submitted to iBudgetAlgorithm@apdcares.org.
A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting: Eva Fambro-Price, 4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 360, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850)922-2550, eva.fambro-price@apdcares.org.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 72 hours before the workshop/meeting by contacting: Eva Fambro-Price, 4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 360, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850)922-2550, eva.fambro-price@apdcares.org. If you
are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).
For more information, you may contact: Eva Fambro-Price, 4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 360, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850)922-2550, eva.fambro-price@apdcares.org.

The meeting agenda can be found online at: http://apdcares.org/publications/legal/ 


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Florida’s Employment First Initiative

On October 8, 2013, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 13-284, where he reaffirmed his commitment to employment as “the most direct and cost-effective means in helping an individual achieve independence and self-fulfillment, which should be the primary objective of public assistance programs wherever possible.” The Executive Order defines employment as follows:

“…integrated employment, including supported employment, customized employment, and self-employment, where an individual is paid by an employer at minimum wage or greater or receives earnings through one’s self-employment business, fully integrated in the community workforce, with a goal of maximum self-sufficiency.”

On May 7, 2014, the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities; the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, Division of Blind Services, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; CareerSource Florida; Florida Department of Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Office; Florida Developmental Disabilities Council; and Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (hereafter referred to as the partners) signed the Employment First Initiative Interagency Cooperative Agreement, committing to improve competitive employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. This five-year agreement took effect July 1, 2014, and it represents unprecedented interagency collaboration to ensure this commitment is instituted in the state’s programs that serve individuals with disabilities to help them achieve successful employment and independence in their communities.

As the state partners work toward the objectives outlined in the Interagency Cooperative Agreement, our desire is to make you aware of these efforts and how you can support this collaboration within your community.

The Florida Employment First Grassroots Group, which consists of quarterly webinar sessions for local stakeholders to discuss important issues related to employment, is one tool that was created to help facilitate local collaboration. In January, the Grassroots Group will host a discussion on ways to build and expand collaborative teams. We strongly encourage you to participate.

Finally, we want to inform you of our interagency communication efforts to promote more employment opportunities within the business community. The partners recently launched the “Abilities Work” Communications Plan, a statewide effort to promote a consistent message of awareness to employers and assist with the recruitment of qualified applicants. In the upcoming year, we will coordinate these efforts with our state and local partners to inform more employers of the opportunities individuals with disabilities offer their workforce and community.

Recently, the Employment First workgroup launched the Abilities Work job portal at abilitieswork.employflorida.com and Help Desk at 844-245-3405.  More information about these two initiatives will be forthcoming.

In the coming months, the partners will provide more specific information on these collaborative initiatives and offer ways for you to get involved.

We hope this information is helpful, and look forward to working with you in carrying out this long-term, collaborative commitment to empowering individuals with disabilities to compete in Florida’s economy!

For further information, please contact APD State Office Employment Coordinator LeeAnn Herman at leeann.herman@apdcares.org.


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Governor Rick Scott Appoints Eight to Family Care Councils

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced six appointments and two reappointments to Family Care Councils across the state.

Area Seven, Family Care Council

Jackie Aikens, 56, of Lake Mary, is a retired senior software engineer with the McKesson Corporation. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending April 5, 2015.

Area Nine, Family Care Council

Kevis Jones, 43, of Delray Beach, is an assembler for the Palm Beach Rehabilitation Center. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending December 18, 2017.

Chantal Hyppolite, 61, of Boca Raton, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. She succeeds Robert Gardner and is appointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending July 1, 2016.

 Area Ten, Family Care Council

Jeannette Hand, 55, of Plantation, is real estate agent with ARG Realty. She succeeds Patrice Laurie and is appointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending August 26, 2017.

Lynda Olds, 45, of Cooper City, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. She succeeds Denise Crosnick and is appointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending August 26, 2017.

Gilda Pacheco, 66, of Miramar, is a retired teacher and administrator with Dade County Public Schools. She is reappointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending June 29, 2017.

Area Thirteen, Family Care Council

Troy Davidson, 47, of Inverness, is an advocate for persons with disabilities. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending December 11, 2016.

Caroline Short, 72, of Bushnell, is a retired licensed massage therapist. She is reappointed for a term beginning December 19, 2014, and ending April 30, 2017.

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