Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Staff Wish You Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for 2018

Tallahassee, FL (December 8, 2017) The staff of Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida wish each of our member agencies, employment centers, and stakeholders a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2018.  Our Board of Directors and staff are committed to assisting each of the over 100 community agencies we represent to achieve their mission to provide quality services and supports to individuals with disabilities.  Florida ARF and RESPECT thank each of you for allowing us the opportunity to represent your interests over the last year.  We look forward to serving you in 2018!


Florida ARF, FDDC, & The Arc of Florida Kickoff Pay Fair for Care Campaign

Tallahassee, FL (November 1, 2017) This month, Florida ARF, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), and The Arc of Florida launched the Pay Fair for Care campaign as a continued effort to shed light on the importance of strengthening direct care staff so they can earn a living wage.  Throughout this campaign, Florida ARF and its partners will be educating decision makers and influencers on the need for provider rate increases in the upcoming Legislative Session.  In the 2018 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature must support living wages for direct care services.  Increasing these rates will allow adequate wages to front-line staff and help strengthen and maintain necessary services.  We encourage you to get involved and support the need to resolve the provider rate crisis!

Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Participate in Disability Employment Awareness Events

Tallahassee, FL (October 17, 2017) Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida joined State Agency Heads, individuals with disabilities, and employers to celebrate Disability Employment Awareness Month during the 12th Annual Exceptional Employers Award event at City Hall.  Ten organizations that hire people with disabilities were recognized by the State of Florida for being exceptional employers of people with disabilities.  President & CEO Suzanne Sewell was a featured speaker at the event explaining how Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida are promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  Sewell also presented a Microenterprise Grant to Tiffany Roper for her business endeavor known as the Plant Princess.  She has a certification in Horticulture Studies and Retail Services and has also completed an internship.  Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida were pleased to support the event with award plaques made by employees with disabilities from Gadsden ARC.  

During the October 17th Cabinet Meeting, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi introduced a resolution declaring October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Florida.  Leaders from APD, Department of Economic Opportunity, Vocational Rehabilitation, Blind Services, Family Care Council of Florida, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities were there to accept the resolution.  Longtime Pensacola Walmart employee Rachel Caylor Long addressed Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on the importance of including people with disabilities in the workforce.  Florida ARF and other advocates are pleased to celebrate this very important month because it recognizes the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities and the many businesses who assist them with achievement of their employment goals.


Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) Celebrate 2017 Direct Support Professional Week

Tallahassee, FL (September 18, 2017) Last week, September 10-16, was the 2017 Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week.  As part of DSP Recognition Week, the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) recognized DSPs who are making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they serve.  FADSP is a membership organization, established by Florida ARF, of individuals who are employed in a variety of settings that support and assist people with disabilities in living full and productive lives.  DSPs are the backbone of long-term supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  While FADSP recognized several DSPs that are making a difference across Florida, there are many deserving DSPs that should be recognized for the outstanding work they do each day to take care of our loved ones.  Many of our DSPs worked many hours to support the individuals served during Hurricane Irma and went above and beyond the call of duty during DSP Recognition Week.