APD Supports and Protects Vulnerable Floridians under the Leadership of Governor DeSantis

Last month, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) thanked Governor Ron DeSantis and its partners in the disability community for their actions to help support persons with disabilities and protect some of our state’s most vulnerable residents and their families during 2020.

Although 2020 presented many challenges to all Floridians, APD was able to achieve significant milestones to benefit APD customers, serving more than 55,000 Floridians with severe forms of autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “This year, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities successfully continued its mission to protect the health and safety of our more than 55,000 customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We leveraged technology, remained flexible, tried new ways of doing things, and adjusted as required. I thank Governor DeSantis for his leadership and support of individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as the dedication of our outstanding employees, Waiver Support Coordinators, and providers. In addition to our efforts during the pandemic, we have made strides in supporting individuals with unique abilities to secure employment and access to opportunities that improve their quality of life.”

Chair of Family Care Council Florida Dina Justice said, “Individuals with developmental disabilities served by APD and their families faced many challenges this year and were able to modify schedules and routines to protect everyone involved. I want to thank Governor DeSantis and Director Palmer for their strong leadership throughout this pandemic. The Family Care Councils continue to offer advice and suggestions to those seeking help to navigate their service needs during these unique times.”

In keeping with Governor DeSantis’ priority to support our state’s most vulnerable citizens, APD continues to provide support and services to our customers, families, stakeholders, providers, and staff. The following are accomplishments during 2020:

Florida Highlights Success of Partnerships with Business Community During Disability Employment Awareness Month:


Florida Recognizes the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act:


Proudly Served Our APD Customers and Supported Providers:

Promoted the Agency’s Mission:

Phased in Services and Users of APD iConnect, Grew User Resources:

Supported and Celebrated APD Staff:

Created Agency Efficiencies:

APD took protective actions early during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of customers, residents, providers, Waiver Support Coordinators, and APD employees:

Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership and in collaboration with the other state agencies including the Division of Emergency Management (DEM), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), APD worked to meet the needs of its customers:


Testing and Contact Tracing to Protect Public Health:


Communications to Keep Floridians with Unique Abilities Informed:

The Tracker is posted on the agency’s website and available at the following link: https://apd.myflorida.com/covid19/.

Staying the Course:


Continuing to serve APD’s customers and residents was the top priority of Director Palmer and agency leadership:

Looking Forward:

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with disabilities. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).