Florida's Disabled to See Positive Changes in Developmental Services

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

Graham’s seven-year-old daughter Sophie has cerebral palsy.

Sophie’s finally getting off a waiting list for state services that will help her continue to live at home.

The waiver covers the cost of some medical supplies, modifications to her house to make it more accessible, and even home care to help out mom.

Janet Graham, the mother, says, "I’ll be able to potentially go to work full-time depending on whether Sophie’s health remains stable, and it’s really a huge, huge difference in the way we live our life."

The state Agency for Persons with Disabilities will cut its waiting list for services about two-thirds by next July due to a $63 million budget surplus, but Sen. Skip Campbell, who’s running for attorney general, wants an investigation. He says there’s no excuse for keeping cash on hand when folks were waiting for help.

Sen. Skip Campbell, (D) Tamarac, FL, says, “We have children with disabilities, we have adults with disabilities who need to have services provided by the state, and if you’re holding the money up and not spending it, there’s something wrong there.

Agency director Shelley Brantley says the surplus came from tougher accounting practices. She denies anyone’s hording cash.

Shelly Brantley says, "Our mission is to support persons with disabilities to live, learn and work in the community and these are vital supports to keep them integrated in the community."

Whatever the reason, Janet Graham is just glad Sophie will get finally the help she’s entitled to.

Janet says, "My goal for Sophie has always been to keep her in her home and in the community and I think this is going to make a big difference in that goal."

Thousands of other families hope they’ll get that help, too.


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