Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) Celebrate 2021 Direct Support Professionals Week

Tallahassee, FL (September 12, 2021) September 12-18th 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. 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 Professionals 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 public health emergencies.” 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 Annual Conference Goes Virtual

Tallahassee, FL (August 31, 2021) Florida ARF is excited to see you at our 45th Annual Virtual Conference which kicks off on Monday, September 13th. While we thought 2021 would be a time when we could all be back in person for meetings, again COVID has changed our plans. We are hopeful that a virtual format will allow more member participation as there are minimal costs to participate unlike in-person events. During our Annual Conference, the Association will discuss many important topics during our Forum Meetings which you will not want to miss. Some topics you will not want to miss are updates from our National Affiliate ANCOR, APD Director Barbara Palmer on APD updates on the many things happening in the Agency, VR Director Allison Flannagan sharing updates from VR and on Competitive Integrated Employment, and updates from AHCA on the ICF programs to name a few. Our Government Relations Forum will be discussing and developing the Association’s 2022 Platform and discussing strategy in preparation for the 2022 Session. There are many other topics that are planned. We hope we will see you all during the virtual conference!


Florida ARF Joins Family Care Council Florida to Provide an Association Overview

Tallahassee, FL (July 17, 2021) President & CEO Tyler Sununu participated in the Summer meeting of the Family Care Council of Florida. During the meeting, Sununu provided an overview of Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida to Council members and fielded their questions. The most pressing questions centered around job opportunities through RESPECT of Florida and the staffing crisis for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Sununu shared the list of Employment Centers (EC) which includes links to each ECs websites, which allows individuals with disabilities to be able to search for available employment opportunities in their area. The staffing crisis  iBudget Waiver providers are experiencing was also discussed. Sununu shared that Florida ARF is continuing to press policymakers in Tallahassee to provide a rate increase to allow providers to be able to increase DSP wages and to retain DSPs. Florida ARF continues to hear of closures rather than openings which is also counterproductive to the Legislature’s intended goal of moving more people off the waiting list. We believe our cries are being heard and there is an understanding of the need for a substantial rate increase.


Florida ARF, FDDC, and APD Partner to Award Denise Arnold Self-Advocacy Memorial Scholarship

Tallahassee, FL (June 30, 2021) The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities have formed a partnership to award the Denise Arnold Self-Advocacy Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was developed to memorialize the contributions Denise made in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities over a 31-year career in the field. Denise Arnold spent her career making sure self-advocates and their families felt empowered and engaged. Her strong advocacy and compassion for all individuals will be reflected in the issuance of the Denise Arnold Self-Advocacy Memorial Scholarship. Through this scholarship, we are seeking to cultivate innovative employment solutions for Floridians with developmental disabilities. We recognize that not all individuals with disabilities seek a traditional job. Some individuals would like the freedom and independence to be their own boss and run their own business, but starting a business can be an expensive and arduous process. Initial funding for a business idea can bridge the gap between a dream and reality. With a funding award of $9,590, the Denise Arnold Self-Advocacy Memorial Scholarship will offer a Micro-Enterprise grant for self-employment to a deserving entrepreneur with disabilities. Member Services Director Courtney Swilley stated “Denise was a tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities and Florida ARF is honored to be a part of this partnership to remember Denise and her contributions to the individuals served by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.”