Senate President-Designate Hopes to Eliminate Wait List for Developmentally Disabled

Dec 17, 2013

Florida's next state Senate president hopes to eliminate the backlog of people with developmental disabilities who are waiting to receive services in their homes. 

Senator Andy Gardiner praised state leaders for directing $36 million in the last legislative session to a waiting list for home and community-based services under a Medicaid waiver. The state Agency for Persons with Disabilities sent out letters last month offering services to 695 Floridians who have been waiting for them.

APD offered another 190 slots to foster children with developmental disabilities. Gardiner, an Orlando Republican whose son has Down syndrome, hopes to do more.

“When you do all these early interventions, and you’re helping the child from six years old to seven or eight years old, at some point that child gets to high school and wants to go get a real job and wants to go to college. You’ve prepared them, and now it’s time for us to look at what we can do next.”

APD serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. The agency hopes to enroll a total of 1,600 new participants in the waiver program since July first of this year.