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What services are available for my child?

Agency for Persons with Disabilities Programs

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities administers programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. There are three basic programs:
  • The INTERMEDIATE CARE FACILITIES FOR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES or children and adults with the greatest needs that cannot be met in the person's home. There is no dollar cap, and the needs of the children and adults are met in a community setting with 3 to 24 people per home.

  • The BIG WAIVER is the Developmental Disabilities Waiver. This waiver doesn't limit how much can be spent per year, and offers all the services. The eligible person however must be planning to move into a group home or supported living environment within 6 months. There are some caps in the frequency of services and most services have specific guidelines that must be met in order to be able to receive them.

  • The LITTLE WAIVER is the Family and Supportive Living Waiver. There is a limit to the number and types of services as well as a limit of $14,282 that you can spend each year. This waiver is for people who live in their own home, family home or a supported living situation and there are 11 services available.

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Who can get services?

Children and adults (from 3 years old) who has acquired one of these disabilities before turning 18 years old:
  • Mental retardation (IQ of 69 or below).
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Autism.
  • Spina bifida.
  • Prader Willi Syndrome.
Note: If your child does not qualify for the services provided by The Agency for Persons with Disabilities, click here to learn about other services.

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What services does Florida offer?

  • Respite: A caregiver comes to your home so you can take a break for shopping, visiting friends and family or a night out.
  • Behavioral services: Teaches your child ways to deal with day-to-day problems.
  • Medical supplies: Diapers, gloves, feeding tubes, food supplements and hearing aids, van lifts, wheelchairs, strollers, adaptive eating devices, communication boards.
  • Home access aids: Ramps, replace carpeting.
  • In-home supports: Personal care assistance, companions, homemaker services.
  • Adult day services: Programs to teach daily living, social and communication skills.
  • Private duty nursing: Care prescribed by a doctor.
  • Therapies: Occupational, physical, speech or respiratory therapy as prescribed by a doctor.
  • Supported living: Helps adults live alone or with a roommate.
  • Transportation: Rides to and from home for services.
  • Adult dental services: Dental care.
  • Supported employment: Job training and coaching.
  • Residential habilitation: A group home, foster home or facility that supervises and teaches daily living skills such as bathing, dressing, tooth brushing, grooming, cooking and community skills.
  • Support coordinator: A person who helps you find services.

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Whom do I call?

For Miami-Dade County:
  Name: Evelyn Alvarez
Phone: (305) 349-1478
Address: 401 NW Second Ave./Suite S-821
  Miami, Fla. 33128

For other counties, visit: Customer Service Centers

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What will I need?

  • Your child's Social Security number.
  • Your child's birth certificate.
  • Any school records such as your child's Individualized Education Plan.
  • Medical information such as:
    • Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, clinics providing services to your child.
    • Medical records.
    • Names of all medications your child is taking.
  • A list of services you and your child need.

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What happens next?

  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will help you fill out the forms.
  • You will need to answer some questions about your child's disability and needs.
  • Your child may be asked to take IQ and social skills tests.
  • It will probably take two to four weeks to see if you and your child can to get services.
  • If your child gets services, you will select a support coordinator to help you get those services.
  • Services should start about three weeks from the time you pick a support coordinator.

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When should I apply?

  • Now.
  • Children and their families are selected for services based on the greatest need.
  • Only about half the children and families who apply will get services. The rest will be on a waiting list until funding is available.

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What should I do if my child is put on the waiting list for services?

  • Hold on to the waiting list letter you receive from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. You may need it in the future to show you are on the waiting list and what your number is.
  • Ask the agency if you can receive some services on the Little Waiver while you await other funding.
  • Ask the agency for general revenue funding (state dollars) to pay for services.
  • You may request a "crisis process" if you and your child have critical needs not being met. Contact the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and ask for a general revenue support coordinator to work with you.
  • Join a parent group such as Parent to Parent and push the Legislature to approve more funding for services. For more information, visit Parent to Parent 

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Who provides the services?

  • You decide who provides services to your child.
  • For a list or providers, visit Provider Search.
  • Call local providers and ask to visit their programs.
  • The support coordinator you choose can tell you more about providers and services.

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Where can I find out more information?

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Brought to you by The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education

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