Florida approves record $2.2 billion for agency for persons with disabilities in state budget

by | Apr 29, 2024

Florida has allocated a record $2.2 billion to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to improve services for individuals with developmental disabilities, including significant increases in provider compensation and funds for crisis intervention and pre-enrollment support

The State of Florida has approved a $2.2 billion funding package for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), representing the largest budget allocation in the agency’s history.

This funding is part of the broader state budget authorized by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who announced the allocation on Monday, which is specifically designed to enhance support for individuals with developmental disabilities across Florida.

The funding details include $200 million dedicated to raising the compensation for I budget waiver providers who offer essential medical, behavioral, and therapeutic services. An additional $64.8 million will be dispersed for enrolling individuals in immediate crisis onto the I budget waiver, aiming to improve the accessibility and responsiveness of support services.

Moreover, $55.7 million is set aside to aid individuals in the pre-enrollment phase of the waiver, facilitating smoother transitions and more efficient service provision.

“This is a big deal. This is a big investment,” said the governor. “We’re here today because Florida has a strong commitment to helping particularly young people that have unique abilities and have unique challenges when it comes to education.”

DeSantis also announced that he has approved an additional $1 million for the ELS Center of Excellence Recreational Complex, where the press conference to announce the funding was hosted, to provide a sensory-friendly environment suitable for children with autism. The facility will include a specialized swim and water safety program, indoor sports, and a hurricane shelter.

“This new facility is going to provide a specialized swim and water safety program, aquatherapy sessions, indoor sports and fitness activities, and a specialized autism friendly hurricane shelter facility,” DeSantis said. “It will also provide a specialized athletic curriculum that gives parents teachers and coaches the best tools to assist children and students with unique ability. We want them to get active wanting to live healthier lives and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”

The APD serves Floridians with developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. It coordinates and provides support services, including vocational training, residential care, and personal assistance. The agency also administers the Medicaid iBudget Florida, which allows beneficiaries to customize the use of funds for services tailored to their specific needs.


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