Turning 22 and Adult Omnibus strongly supported in Governor’s budget – Initial Report from The Arc

Governor Baker’s proposed budget for FY 2019 again keeps pace with the DDS Turning 22 program as more than 1,000 students graduate into adult services. In addition, a $5 Million increase is budgeted for Autism Omnibus which addresses those newly eligible with autism[i].

These increases carry forward the Governor’s commitment to support our young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including autism as they need adult services such as day and employment, transportation and housing. HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders commented on the investment, referring to “Turning 22 as a priority for the administration” in her conference call today with stakeholders.

Currently 1,463 individuals are on the DDS caseload for the Omnibus program and of those 763 are 22 years or older; many of these individuals are waiting for services.

The Arc’s priority areas for advocacy include gaps in the areas of Community Residential, Day and Employment, Family Support, DESE and Transportation line items.  These line items did increase but didn’t meet The Arc’s full request for maintenance funding.

For example, the transition from sheltered work has not been fully addressed with the funds required.  In residential services the challenges to provide inclusion along with health and safety concerns continue. Funding for staff training to assist complex needs of individuals with challenging behaviors and/or complex medical conditions is essential too.

Funding recap on Community Services gaps:

Great outcomes on T22 and Autism Omnibus.  All increases noted are relative to 2018 projected spending:

  • Adult Omnibus- up $5 mil to meet needs
  • Turning 22 meets growth of class
  • Transportation – is up $1.6 Mil but gap is still $2.6 mil
  • Community Residential (10,000 served) is up $27 mil but a gap remains of $18 mil; State Operated homes is up $3 mil
  • Day/Employment – is increased by $7.5 mil but the gap is still 11.5 mil; Over 10,000 individuals served plus 2,600 need Olmstead community inclusion funds
  • Family Support/Respite- increase of $482K, leaving a gap of $6 mil; Over 10,000 families served with 9,000 in need
  • DESE–DDS- level funded leaving a gap of 2.5 mil (helps prevent out of home placement)
  • Autism Children – level funded leaving a gap of 1.5 mil

MassHealth – Services are entitlement in nature.  We will continue to advocate for continuance of a substantial program and address gaps for those with I/DD in long term supports

Time for Active Citizenship

We need you to contact your legislators (representative and senator) on Beacon Hill for the issues you care about.  This is a multi-step process over the next several months, so please stay connected and active.

You can see the budget chart on our State Budget page. A printable version of this analysis is also available here. A fact sheet with more information will be posted soon.





Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director

[i] Newly eligible includes adults with developmental disabilities who are diagnosed with autism, Prader-Willi and Smith-Magenis syndromes.

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