Florida ARF Celebrates ANCOR’s DSP of the Year for Florida

Miami, FL (April 13, 2022) During the 2022 ANCOR Annual Conference: Elevate, ANCOR announced the 51 recipients of the association’s Direct Support Professional of the Year Awards. DSPs are extraordinary and essential professionals that work tirelessly every day to solve problems, engineer solutions, adapt, innovate, listen, and support. Because of their work, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are better equipped to live quality lives in truly inclusive communities. This year's class of award recipients includes 51 award recipients, including four special category award recipients. Florida ARF is proud to announce that Sherry Ellis from ResCare Community Living was selected as the Florida 2022 ANCOR DSP of the Year. Congratulations to Sherry and the ResCare team in Florida!


April is Autism Acceptance Month

Tallahassee, FL (April 1, 2022) April is Autism Acceptance Month, previously named Autism Awareness Month, which aims to celebrate and promote acceptance for the condition that occurs in one in every 44 children in the United States. Autism, a complex developmental condition affecting the individual’s ability to interact, communicate, and progress, has not one but many subtypes. Autism Acceptance Month emphasizes the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, celebrate the differences, and be more inclusive towards autistic individuals around us.

In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, Florida ARF honors the contributions of people on the autism spectrum. We join other organizations in recognizing the needs of people on the autism spectrum and their families and strive every day to work towards providing individuals with autism the same opportunities that others have. Florida ARF deeply understands the need to foster awareness and acceptance to ignite change and a healthier lifestyle through improved opportunities for people with autism.


Florida ARF Reflects on the Needs of Individuals with Disabilities During DD Awareness Month

Tallahassee, FL (March 21, 2022) March is Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month and is a time when stakeholders seek to raise even more awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life. After much advocacy and effort by multiple entities and individuals, Florida ARF and its member agencies are pleased to announce this March the Florida Legislature recognized the needs by increasing funding resources to serve individuals with disabilities. Some of the enhancements approved by the 2022 Florida Legislature include: critical rate increase funding for providers to raise Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) wages to $15 an hour for many APD iBudget Waiver services and for Community ICF/IIDs, rate restoration for the Community ICF/IIDs to reverse cuts that were implemented on July 1st, funding for employment and internship for individuals on the iBudget waitlist, and additional funds to serve those who are on the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waitlist. We have much to be appreciative for as we celebrate the Florida Legislature’s commitment to enhancing services for individuals with developmental disabilities. As we move to the closing of March 2022, we thank our Legislators for their overwhelming support of the needs of individuals with disabilities during DD Awareness Month 2022!  


Florida ARF Leads State Team During 2022 NADSP Advocacy Symposium: Amplifying the Voices of Direct Support Professionals

Tallahassee, FL (March 10, 2022) On March 9-10, 2022, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) held its first-ever national advocacy event to bring the Direct Support Professional (DSP) perspective to the forefront of Congress and the Administration during a time of unprecedented workforce challenges. For this event, Florida ARF served as the Florida state lead to assist with this opportunity to lend our voices on the needs of our DSPs. Member Services Director Courtney Swilley along with the Association’s Government Relations Chair Steven DeVane, Arc Broward COO Julie Price, and 3 DSPs from Miami Cerebral Palsy represented Florida. Our Florida team met with staff from both Florida Senator’s Offices as well as several members of the U.S. House of Representatives to advocate for support of the creation of a Standardized Occupational Classification (SOC) Code for DSPs - Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act S.1437/H.R. 4779 and also asked for support of the Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act (S.2344) / Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act (H.R. 2999). Swilley stated “Florida ARF is very proud to have been able to lead the Florida team. The constructive meetings we had demonstrated what our DSPs do every day and how Florida’s leaders can lend their support for DSPs in D.C. to lead to national changes for this profession. We look forward to continuing to work with NADSP on this endeavor.”