Agency for Persons with Disabilities

In October 2004, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) became an agency separate from the Department of Children and Families, specifically tasked with serving the needs of Floridians with developmental disabilities. Prior to that time, it existed as the Developmental Disabilities Program. The agency is governed by Chapter 20, Chapter 393, and Chapter 916 of the Florida Statutes.

APD works with local organizations and private providers to support people who have developmental disabilities and their families in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD identifies the service needs of people with developmental disabilities, and those individuals may receive social, medical, behavioral, residential, and/or therapeutic services.

Who We Serve

The agency serves more than 50,000 Floridians with the following disabilities:

  • People severely impaired by autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Down syndrome
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Phelan-McDermid syndrome
  • Children age 3-5 who are at a high risk of a developmental disability

Barbara Palmer, Director

Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Barbara Palmer would continue to serve as the Director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) in December 2018. She was appointed Director of APD by Governor Rick Scott in August 2012. Previously, she had served as the agency's chief of staff since September 2011.

Before coming to APD, Palmer was the assistant secretary for administration of the Department of Children and Families. Palmer served more than 15 years as president and CEO of Palmer, Musick & Associates, where she represented the interests of a variety of issues including athletics, education, mental health, health care, and regulation before state and local governments. She previously served as associate vice-president for governmental relations at Florida State University and was FSU's first women's athletic director. She also served as director of the Division of Hotels and Restaurants in the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Palmer earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University. She was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990 and also was among the first group of women inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame in 1982.

How can you learn more about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities?

  • Write or call the local office, Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

  • Attend meetings of the Family Care Council where people with developmental disabilities and their family members discuss issues important to them.