Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Participate in Celebrating Exceptional Employers

Tallahassee, FL (October 11, 2019) Today, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Blind Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation recognized 12 businesses as Florida Exceptional Employers for hiring and retaining employees who have disabilities during the 14th Annual Exceptional Employer Awards celebration at the Tallahassee City Commission Chambers. These companies from across the state were recognized with plaques made by individuals with disabilities and donated by Florida ARF d/b/a RESPECT of Florida. The Association is proud to recognize companies that have a strong commitment to employing and retaining people with unique abilities during Disability Employment Awareness Month.


Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) Celebrate 2019 Direct Support Professional Week

Tallahassee, FL (September 8, 2019) This week, September 8-14, is the 2019 Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week.  As part of DSP Recognition Week, the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) is recognizing DSPs who are making 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.  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.  

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a proclamation recognizing Direct Support Professional Recognition Week.  DeSantis stated “Florida’s direct support professionals play an important role in ensuring Floridians with unique abilities flourish in society, stay connected with their families, and achieve greater independence as they perform various tasks.  Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Florida is an opportunity to share our appreciation for the professionals who help individuals with unique abilities reach their full potential and lead healthy lives.”  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 Supports Direct Support Professionals (DSP) for A Day

Tallahassee, FL (August 27, 2019) Florida ARF was pleased to join the Pine Castle leadership and state and federal legislative representatives in Jacksonville to recognize the work of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).  Following a tour of Pine Castle, attendees met with DSPs to learn about their jobs and discussed the assistance they need to succeed in their roles as DSPs.  As stated by Florida ARF President & CEO Suzanne Sewell, “The level of commitment, love, and genuine caring shown by the DSPs at Pine Castle was impressive.  Because of the management and DSP’s commitment to the mission, individuals are thriving and truly enjoying the services and supports they receive.”  Thank you, Pine Castle for sharing your DSP for a Day event with us!


State Agencies Tackle Redesign of Agency for Persons with Disabilities Service System

Tallahassee, FL (July 17, 2019)  In response to 2019 Legislative Session directives, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Agency for Health Care Administration are developing a plan to redesign the iBudget service system that provides Medicaid funded, community-based supports for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  On July 17th, Florida ARF joined other stakeholders to provide input and suggestions regarding the redesign.  Most of the presenters spoke against transition of the program to privatized managed care and most stated the iBudget system is underfunded.  President & CEO Suzanne Sewell offered testimony on behalf of the Florida ARF membership.  According to Sewell, “almost any service model that is adequately funded can be responsive to individuals’ needs.  The Agencies (APD and AHCA) must be bold in determining the true cost of care and advocating for the appropriate resources to meet the needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities.  This is a primary expectation of our membership.”  Florida ARF encourages all stakeholder to provide input into the Redesign process.