The Arc is excited to share the remarkable outcome of the Final FY 2020 budget. We offer our sincere thanks to Governor Baker for his leadership and for his support of the Commonwealth’s disability community.
The Governor and his administration initiated much of the additional funding with his budget blueprint in January. Since then, the House and the Senate heard our concerns about the gaps in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) line items including Family Support, Community Day and Employment, Transportation, Autism Omnibus, and the Autism Children’s Waiver.
The House and the Senate each provided specific increases in their budgets. We are especially grateful to the Conference Committee for the additional funding for Community Day and Employment and Autism Omnibus. Overall, we are pleased to report, that through the work of the legislature and the advocacy of our community, the budget received a $17,850,000 boost for people served by DDS.
The Arc commends our dedicated community and our partner organizations who advocated during this budget cycle with letters, calls, and face to face meetings with the legislature. Together, we have made significant progress.
The overall gains in the budget will close the gaps in services and supports, as well as allow for more opportunities for individuals with disabilities to thrive in the community. These monumental increases in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) line items will have an impact on many of the nearly 40,000 individuals served by DDS.
- The DDS Community Day and Employment line item 5920-2025 will receive a total of $239,513,699 in FY ‘20, which will fund employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in the community and address changing needs and increases in support staff ratios. This increase will assist an estimated 11,975 people, which is over 1,400 more people than in 2019. Increased transportation funds (5911-2000) associated with community-based day and work programs will assist in employment efforts.
- The 61% increase that the Governor initiated in the DESE-DDS line will help hundreds more families stay together when a child is at risk of an out of home placement ($10.5 million total in 5948-0012). There is approximately $7.5 million for the DDS Autism Waiver line item 5920-3010, which serves children with autism under the age of 9 and their families.
- In addition, the DDS Autism Omnibus line item 5920-3020 with a total of $30,752,968 will assist approximately 1,230 people with an increase of 500 more people supported from last year. This funding provides vital supports and services for older individuals with autism spectrum disorder (autism), Smith-Magenis syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome who are not eligible for Turning 22 funding.
- We are also pleased to see over $25 million invested to DDS Turning 22 line item 5920-5000, sustaining the formula which meets the increased number of graduates. The Turning 22 program assists over 1,000 individuals with I/DD now graduating from high school in need of adult services. In addition, these funds will allow DDS to continue to work to assimilate the new constituency of persons with developmental disabilities in this age range.
- Another important increase is in the DDS Respite/Family Support line item 5920-3000 at over $70 million, which was a $5 million increase from FY ‘19 and will assist many more families in caring for their loved ones (estimated 2,000 families).
- The major increase in the Residential Services line item 5920-2000 will have a significant impact on the lives of those who either need more intensive support (medical, dementia, outmoded housing, loss of caregiver, etc.) as well as long term residential funding for those who turned 22 in 2019.
- We are thankful for the boost in the Mass Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) EDUC 7066-9600 line item, which provides more access to college courses and learning opportunities for people with I/DD or autism. The budget also includes essential funding to help with supports for aging individuals with I/DD as well as other critical budget line items for the disability community.
This budget clearly recognizes the different challenges that individuals with I/DD and autism and their families face as well as the importance of the programs and services that support them.