Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) Celebrate 2020 Direct Support Professional Week

Tallahassee, FL (September 13, 2020) September 13-19 is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week. In celebration of this event, Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) hereby recognize DSPs who make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they serve. Their stories clearly communicate the loving attitude and dedication of DSPs who give so freely of themselves to serve others. As stated by President & CEO Suzanne Sewell, “DSPs are the backbone of long-term supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the State of Florida; we truly value and appreciate the services and sacrifices DSPs offer to ensure that others needs are met.”

During the week, the Association will feature a select number of DSPs who are making a difference across Florida; we also want to acknowledge there are many deserving DSPs that should be recognized for the outstanding work they do on a daily basis to care for loved ones served by our member agencies. The Association is pleased to announce Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a proclamation recognizing Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. DeSantis stated “Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Florida is an important opportunity to recognize those who dedicate their lives to providing support and services to our loved ones and improving their communities, including their efforts during the COVID-19 public health emergency.” We could not agree with Governor DeSantis more!

To all the DSPs across Florida, we offer a hearty “Thank you for all that you do!


Florida ARF & Member Agencies Advocate Among Congressional Leaders for COVID Relief

Tallahassee, FL (August 2020) As news of the ending of retainer payment for iBudget waiver services was released, Florida ARF and its member agencies kicked advocacy efforts in to high gear to seek COVID-19 provider relief. Many contacts and virtual meetings were held to stress the need of the provider community. The message conveyed in our advocacy efforts is: Medicaid funded providers who serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities need help to serve their clients and keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic; previous assistance such as Medicaid Retainer payments was helpful because it allowed providers to offer services to individuals through flexible service models. Congressional assistance is needed to approve either: Medicaid Retainer payments, additional funding such as Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) funds, or Medicaid flexibilities that will allow states to offer unique services that meet the needs of Medicaid individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As Congress did not reach an agreement on the next stimulus package prior to the August recess advocacy efforts continue to obtain sustainable provider relief in order to keep programs serving individuals with intellectual disabilities operational.


Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Participate in 30th Anniversary of the ADA Events

Tallahassee, FL (July 24, 2020) Today, employees of Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida participated in the virtual statewide celebration to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark legislation was signed into law 30 years ago this month and has had a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation declaring July 24th “Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the federal bill. The online celebration, included a welcome message from Governor DeSantis.  Governor Ron DeSantis said, “The ADA has removed barriers to allow individuals with disabilities the chance to achieve their goals. Florida is happy to be an accommodating state. Florida’s constitution, the ADA, and the laws of our state affirm equality and inclusion for people with unique abilities.” Attendees heard from several other speakers during the festivities in addition to the Governor. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, RESPECT of Florida, ABLE United, The Able Trust, Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living, Ability 1st, Blind Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, and many other stakeholders hosted Florida’s celebration. Florida ARF / RESPECT of Florida staff were pleased to assist with sponsorship of the ADA celebrations held across the State and participated in their own unique version of a recognition ceremony.


Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Move to New Office Building

Tallahassee, FL (June 29, 2020) After many years of planning, Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida have moved to new headquarters. The Association is pleased to have been able to secure a permanent home located close to downtown Tallahassee. The property is located at 1113 East Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL 32308, and has been renovated to be ADA compliant. The space and modifications will meet the current and future needs of the Association. “Our new home has been a vision of the Association for many years and has now become a reality,” said President & CEO Suzanne Sewell. The staff at Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida look forward to serving you out of our new location and to the time when our members and RESPECT Employment Centers will be able to visit our new offices.