Governor Tom Corbett today announced that his 2013-14 budget will set aside nearly $20 million to provide home and community-based services for approximately 1,200 Pennsylvania adults with intellectual disabilities.
The proposal reduces a waiting list for services for adults with intellectual disabilities. Intellectual disabilities – such as Down syndrome, autism or Fragile X syndrome – originate before the age of 18 and provide significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, affecting many everyday social and practical skills.
“When I visited Philadelphia last November, I was deeply moved by the stories of three families who had been on a long waiting list for home and community-based services,” Corbett said. “We need to do a better job of looking after these citizens, who, through no failing of their own, cannot look after themselves.”
Corbett was joined for the announcement by representatives from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), disability advocates, and three families currently on the emergency waiting list. DPW has more than 3,500 individuals in the emergency category who have been identified as needing services within the next six months.
The 2013-14 proposal aims to provide for people waiting for services, including adults from the emergency waiting list, those waiting to receive autism services, and special education graduates.
Many of the individuals with intellectual disabilities “age out” of receiving special education services when graduating high school or live at home with an elderly caregiver or single parent that must split time between full-time employment and caregiving duties.
Corbett’s 2012-13 budget invested $17.8 million to provide services for and remove approximately 1,100 individuals from the waiting list.
“I am confident that a continued commitment in this year’s budget to reduce waiting lists for services will help those who need it most,” Corbett said. “Caregivers should not have to choose between caring for a loved one and full-time employment, nor should individuals with special needs have to suffer set-backs in their everyday lives,” he added.
Governor Corbett will provide more details about his full 2013-14 budget proposal in early February.