Governor Wolf has announced that the month of March is Intellectual Disability Awareness Month in Pennsylvania – a time for us to recognize the valuable roles that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have in our families, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Today, there are more opportunities in education and employment and more protections in health care, the legal system, and other areas of human rights – but that is not enough.
Governor Wolf’s proposed budget provides $26.2 million to enable individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to move from the waiting list, providing employment and other community services to an additional 820 special education graduates, and reducing the waiting list by another 1,000 through the creation of a new community support waiver.
Recognizing the increased costs to provide service, the funding includes a pay increase for those professionals providing direct care, and realizing a need to target specific needs, expands the Adult Autism Waiver to serve 50 more individuals, adds more than 2,000 individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities to the Targeted Services Management State Plan, and establishes two bio-behavioral units to support people with complex neurodevelopmental needs.
This administration is committed to helping every Pennsylvanian realize all of us are valued members of society and our communities and funding provides community services for 80 individuals transitioning from Hamburg Center and an additional 40 individuals at other state centers.
We find fulfillment living everyday lives by expanding services to individuals in need and by serving more people in the community, where people want to be served.
Throughout this month and every month, I encourage all citizens to support Pennsylvanians with an intellectual disability and their families in all aspects of Pennsylvania community life.
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