The Arc of Massachusetts (The Arc) celebrates the release of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Budget announced by Chair Brian Dempsey. Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc, stated “Chair Dempsey and the House Ways/Means Committee members not only recognized the rising number of students requiring public support as adults, but ensure that all young adults who need DDS funding will receive it –it’s a landmark decision.”
Turning 22 line item increased by nearly $17 Million to $24.2 Million in the Department of Developmental Services budget. Other related accounts also received increases as part of a new formula to reach the nearly 1,000 students who graduate from high school and require adult services.
Turning 22 services and supports typically include day and employment supports, residential, transportation, and other individualized services. Supporting young adults as they turn 22 also assists their families. 70% of these graduating students live at home. The last time this formula was adjusted was in the 1990s. The chart below shows the rise in need which includes a high number of students with autism adding to the numbers with developmental disabilities.
The House also placed language to prevent a cut to AFC (adult family/foster care) which is a MassHealth program which is very cost effective and was the subject of a 9C cut. We hope to work on a long term strategy with MassHealth for that program because it’s a vital piece of the safety net. Much appreciated as well.
This budget acknowledges the rise the adult I/DD population including those with autism who do not have an intellectual disability. The House budget’s line item appropriations will help serve those individuals who are newly eligible through DDS and many who have been waiting for supports.
To learn more about this budget find House Ways and Means on this page