Director’s Column

By Director Barbara Palmer

I was thrilled to be officially confirmed by the Senate on February 18 as the director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). This will provide leadership continuity for APD as we move forward to expand and improve services for individuals with disabilities in Florida.

The Legislative Session is winding down this month. Governor Scott recommended funding in his budget proposal to serve people with critical needs on the Medicaid waiver waiting list. The legislature is supporting this request currently in the proposed budget which would serve hundreds of people on the waiting list. If it is approved, the state will have increased funding for the waiver by more than $100 million in four years. That type of support from the governor and Legislature is wonderful, and I am very appreciative.

We are keeping a close eye on the budget negotiations and will provide a full update once the budget is approved and signed by Governor Scott.

Tomorrow, on March 2, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will consider a resolution, sponsored by Attorney General Pam Bondi, to declare March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in our state. David Peopping who is currently holding down two jobs, will address the Cabinet on the importance of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. The Cabinet meeting begins at 9 a.m. in Tallahassee and is broadcast on the Florida Channel throughout the state. Please tune in if you can.

During this special month of March devoted to promoting the abilities of those APD serves, we ask for the public’s support. Think about hiring a person with a developmental disability for your next vacancy at work. Having a job makes such a big difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families. When we come together to help others, we can work toward making an individual’s dreams come true, like David Peopping.