Nov 24, 2010

Governor Crist Launches Website for Floridians with Disabilities

Governor Crist Launches Website for Floridians with Disabilities
~ Enhances accessibility of information resources for persons with
disabilities and their families ~

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today launched a new comprehensive
clearinghouse website for the more than six million Floridians with
disabilities. Created by the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities, the
enhanced website,, provides links to local, state
and national resources on disability information and services.

“Floridians with disabilities deserve easily accessible information about
programs and services that can help remove barriers to independence, and
this new website helps us achieve that goal,” Governor Crist said.
“Information about available resources helps persons with disabilities and
their families experience a greater quality of life.”

On the website, Floridians can learn about disability friendly travel
destinations, services, hotels and recreation via a link to To help prepare for emergencies,
visitors to the website can also link to
, which offers resources and information specifically tailored for people
with disabilities and their families.

Displayed prominently on every page of the website is the toll-free number
for the Clearinghouse on Disability Information, available by calling
1-877-ADA-4YOU (1-877-232-4968). The clearinghouse also serves as the
primary referral source for Vocational Rehabilitation’s Order of Selection,
the Agency for Health Care’s Nursing Home Transition Initiative, the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other state agencies
serving persons with disabilities and seniors. Floridians can also learn
about Medicaid Waiver programs, including a description of available
services, eligibility requirements and the state agencies involved with
each program.

The website accomplishes one of the recommendations made by the
commission’s Education/Employment Committee, made possible through a
$25,000 grant from The Able Trust. Information about the commission’s
other committees, recommendations, and accomplishments are also available
on the website. The commission’s other committees are Independent
Living/Transportation, Health Care, and Legal Issues and Civil Rights.

Some of the commission’s other initiatives are as follows:

Increase American Sign Language (ASL) classes in public school –
Conduct public awareness campaign in October 2009.

· Expand the Florida College Transition Program: STINGRAY –
Offers a solution to the underemployment of Floridians with
disabilities by providing individualized postsecondary transition
services to students between ages 18 and 22 with significant
cognitive disabilities. The pilot program is currently housed at the
University of South Florida at St. Petersburg, and the commission is
exploring partnerships to expand the program.

Employment and career awareness campaign – In October 2009 and 2010,
the commission and The Able Trust focused on positive aspects of
hiring, retaining, and promoting persons with disabilities.

Independent Living
Statewide special needs shelter registry – Partnering with local law
enforcement agencies to expand the “Take Me Home” Program statewide.
The “Take Me Home” Program is an interactive, searchable database to
assist in the identification and timely return of persons with
disabilities and the elderly who wander away from their caregivers
during times of emergency or disaster. Although initially designed
for children with autism, the program expanded to serve as a
safeguard for persons with disabilities of all ages and their parents
or caregivers. Since its inception, the registry software has been
provided free of charge by the Pensacola Police Department and the
Autism Society of America to all law enforcement agencies.

About the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities

Established by Governor Crist in July 2007, the commission represents all
Floridians with disabilities, including persons with developmental
disabilities, mental illness, brain and spinal cord injuries, and visual
and hearing impairments, as well as senior citizens and veterans with
disabilities. The Commission acts as an advisory body on policy by
collecting and analyzing information and advocating on issues involving
persons with disabilities.