HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett's proposed 2013-14 budget for the Department of Public Welfare illustrates his continued commitment to providing critical services to Pennsylvanians who most need them.
"Without a doubt, the past two budget cycles have been difficult. However, thanks to continued strong reforms and fiscal responsibility, we have been able to refocus the Department of Public Welfare's limited resources to serve those individuals most in need and this budget illustrates that commitment," Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander said.
Governor Corbett's proposal prioritizes funding in the Department of Public Welfare's budget to reach Pennsylvanians with intellectual and physical disabilities, senior citizens, children and low-income families. Highlights include:
- Expanding Services for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities– $20 million in additional funds to reduce a waiting list for home and community-based services for individuals with intellectual disabilities, providing services for 1,080 adults graduating from Special Education programs and adults in at-risk situations where their families may not be able to continue caring for them, and 118 adults who receive autism services;
- Expanded Services for Older Pennsylvanians – $21 million from increased lottery funds, due to the Lottery Private Management Agreement, to account for growth in home and community-based services which would allow 1,550 additional older Pennsylvanians to receive services at home;
- Expanding Services for Individuals with Physical Disabilities – $20 million in additional funds to provide home and community-based long-term living services for 1,680 individuals;
- Child Care Assistance – $7.1 million in additional funds to reduce the waiting list, allowing 1,400 additional children of low-income families to receive subsidized child care services;
- Improving the Quality of Child Care Programs – $3 million in additional funds for the Rising STARS initiative, which creates incentives for early child care and education providers to provide higher quality child care for our most at-risk children, giving them a strong foundation for the future;
- Juvenile Justice Reinvestment – $10 million in reinvestments into research-based prevention and intervention programs for at-risk children through a multi-agency Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative; and
- Continued Investment in Specialized Hospital Services – $20 million to fully fund critical supplemental payments to hospitals, including obstetrical and neonatal facilities, burn centers, trauma centers and critical access facilities.
The funding to reduce the waiting list for individuals with intellectual disabilities builds upon the commitment made by Corbett in last year's budget to provide critical services to Pennsylvanians most in need. Throughout the past two years, more than $55 million has been committed by the administration to allow the commonwealth to provide services to more than 2,000 additional Pennsylvanians living with intellectual disabilities.New to the intellectual disabilities waiting list initiative this year is a proposed reduction in the autism waiting list, providing additional funding to assist adults with autism to gain independence by encouraging involvement in community life, employment, improved social skills and support to caregivers.