HomeFlorida NewsDeSantis announces historic investment in services for Floridians with disabilities

DeSantis announces historic investment in services for Floridians with disabilities


Tallahassee, Florida – Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a groundbreaking allocation of over $2.2 billion to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in Florida, marking the highest level of funding for direct services for individuals with unique abilities in the state’s history. This funding is channeled through the iBudget waiver, which provides a variety of essential services to those with autism and other developmental disabilities.

A Commitment to Enhancing Lives

The iBudget waiver is designed to offer social, medical, behavioral, and therapeutic services to support individuals with developmental disabilities in living fulfilling lives.

Governor DeSantis emphasized the state’s commitment to its residents, stating, “As Governor, I will continue to ensure every Floridian has access to high-quality services to create a pathway to live up to their God-given potential and realize the American Dream.”

He also highlighted the significant role of community projects like the Els Center of Excellence, which has become a pivotal institution in supporting individuals with autism.

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The funding details outlined in the Governor’s Focus on Florida’s Future Budget include nearly $200 million to support an across-the-board increase for iBudget waiver providers and $64.8 million to enroll additional individuals in crisis onto the iBudget waiver.

Furthermore, an additional $55.7 million is earmarked to help move individuals from pre-enrollment categories into active enrollment.

Enhancing Community Resources

Over $40 million of the budget is allocated to support community projects for those with autism and other developmental disabilities. This includes a significant $1 million for the Els Center of Excellence recreational complex.

The complex is designed as a sensory-friendly environment that caters specifically to the needs of children with autism, providing them with a safe and accommodating space to learn and grow.

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Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Taylor Hatch praised the Governor’s efforts, saying, “Governor DeSantis delivers results, there is no better way to celebrate Autism Awareness Month than to highlight today’s announcement of record investments on behalf of the disability community.”

He noted the importance of these investments in empowering more individuals and families to thrive through strong community and provider partnerships.

Expanding Educational Opportunities

Additionally, Governor DeSantis highlighted the success of Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities, which has seen participation grow to nearly 100,000 students from around 25,000 in 2021.

This scholarship program allows families of students with unique abilities, starting as young as three years old, to access additional educational options best suited to their child’s needs.

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The record funding and expanding educational programs reflect Florida’s commitment to enhancing the lives of its residents with unique abilities.

Through these initiatives, the state aims to provide more inclusive opportunities for education and community engagement, ensuring that all Floridians have the chance to reach their full potential.

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