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Children with Disabilities Now Have More of a
Chance to Find Permanent Homes

A new agreement between state agencies seeks to make it more likely for children with disabilities, many of whom had been seen as unadoptable, to join a family for good. The Department of Children and Families, and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities are linking foster children with developmental disabilities such as Autism or cognitive impairment to a Medicaid waiver. Many had been waiting for the program for years. The waiver pays to help a person live at home and can include services such as in-home support, behavioral analysis and respite for caregivers.

In 2008, Brandon, a Devereux child who is now on the waiver, was removed from his birth family a second time. He’s been available for adoption for a year. Almost 70, Frederick Branch, Brandon’s foster father, said he’s a good kid whom Branch and his wife will nurture as long as he’s with them. But the Cape Coral couple aren’t at a stage in life to adopt him. Almost 40 children have been enrolled in the program statewide.

In the past, foster children with such disabilities often languished in care until age 18 because prospective parents were reluctant to adopt without help with expensive and intensive services, lawyers and officials said. Prior to the agreement, foster children could only get on the waiver when they aged out of the system and were determined to be in crisis, such as homeless, Agency for Persons with Disabilities officials said.

Source from an article on The Autism News website - to read the article online visit, http://www.theautismnews.com/2010/11/09/florida-program-puts-homes-within-reach-for-disabled-youngsters/