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Governor Highlights Record Investment in Services for the Disabled, Including $1-Million for the ELs Center

Courtesy WPEC via The Florida Channel

Jupiter - Monday April 29, 2024: At the Els Center of Excellence campus in Jupiter this morning Governor DeSantis highlighted the record amount of funding in the recently passed state budget to provide services for those with disabilities, including $1-million for the ELs Center.

The Els Center is a world-class facility hosting leading-edge programs and services for individuals with autism.

The $2.2 billion in the FY24-25 budget is the highest amount ever for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). The funds are channeled through the iBudget waiver, which gives community organizations and families who are APD customers the option to choose what medically necessary services they need.

The state budget, which has yet to be signed by the Governor, includes the following:

  • Nearly $200 million to support an across-the-board increase for iBudget waiver providers.
  • $64.8 million to enroll additional individuals in crisis onto the iBudget waiver.
  • An additional $55.7 million to enroll individuals currently in pre-enrollment categories.
  • Over $40 million in support of community projects for those with autism and other developmental disabilities.
  • This includes $1 million for the Els Center of Excellence recreational complex, which provides a sensory friendly environment that meets the needs of children with autism.

Additionally, the Governor announced that participation in the Florida Empowerment Scholarship has grown to record numbers, going from around 25,000 students in 2021 to over 98,000 students today. This scholarship is designed to offer families of children with disabilities access to additional education options so parents can find the best environment to serve their child’s needs.