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For Immediate Release:                                          Contact:
February 14, 2018                                                     Melanie Mowry Etters
                                                                                  Communication Director


APD Participates in Developmental Disabilities Day
Disability Stakeholders Praise Governor’s Support

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Today, Governor Rick Scott issued a proclamation recognizing today, February 14, as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Florida. Hundreds of disability advocates came to the Capitol in Tallahassee today to talk with legislators. To read Governor Scott’s proclamation, click here.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to proclaim today as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Florida. We want every person in our state to have the opportunity to live the American Dream. We will keep working to ensure every Floridian has the resources they need to be successful.”
Governor Scott ‘s Securing Florida’s Future Budget proposes $1.4 billion to serve Floridians with developmental disabilities. Some of the proposed investments include:

  • $18.1 million to offer enrollment to approximately 900 individuals with developmental disabilities who are in crisis into the APD waiver program. This funding will serve individuals who are in a crisis situation, in extended foster care, or those in foster care who are adopted or reunified with their families.
  • $1 million to provide employment services for approximately 800 individuals with developmental disabilities who are ready to work.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “Governor Scott is a fabulous advocate for people with developmental disabilities. The Governor’s budget recommendations support $34 million in General Revenue funding for the increased needs of individuals on the waiver. I appreciate his continued support of individuals with special abilities. We want all Floridians with developmental disabilities to receive the resources they need to succeed.”

Family Care Council Florida Chairperson Mary Smith said, “We are happy to see Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget will move 900 people from the waiting list to being served by APD. We appreciate his understanding of the growing needs of people already on the waiver too.”


WHEREAS, people born with developmental disabilities are a part of every community, socioeconomic class, religion, and country; and

WHEREAS, the state of Florida supports more than 100,000 citizens with developmental disabilities through services provided by state programs including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Health, and Department of Education’s Divisions of Exceptional Student Education, Blind Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation, and by partner organizations and thousands of private-sector and community providers; and

WHEREAS, the State of Florida has made record investments to serve the APD waiting list for Floridians with disabilities to live more independently and find great jobs; and

WHEREAS, the proposed 2018-19 Securing Florida’s Future budget continues investments to help more Floridians with disabilities receive services and assistance; and

WHEREAS, more than 40 million Americans have developmental disabilities, resulting in substantial limitations in self-care, communication, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, public awareness and education enhance understanding of the issues affecting people with developmental disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the State of Florida also works with dozens of partner organizations and thousands of private-sector community providers to support those with developmental disabilities;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby extend my support to all observing February 14, 2018, as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Florida.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to be affixed at Tallahassee, the Capital, this 14th day of February, in the year two thousand eighteen.


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