Developmentally Disabled Losing Ground

More than 15 thousand disabled Floridians and their families are begging the state for help. Florida is 49th in services provided to the developmentally disabled. Many recipients are losing services.

18 year old Megan Holl of Longwood is number 5,812 on the state’s waiting list for developmentally disabled services. Megan suffered a seizure when she was just 6 months old. It left her with the mental capacity of a child and the love of her family.

When parents Rob and Betsy Holl moved to central Florida they assumed Megan would get the same services they had in Ohio. They were wrong. So the entire family came to the state capitol to speak out for Megan.

Her Father, Rob Holl, said there are thousands of disabled Floridians who can’t speak out for themselves. “My daughter needs therapy. My daughter needs to gain some skills. I don’t know that she is capable of learning much but she has to be given as much opportunity to make as much progress as she can."

Funding for the developmentally disabled is up under Jeb Bush, so are the number of people being served. But what advocates are saying is that when the hole is so deep much, much more has to be done. There are more than 15 000 people on the state’s waiting list for developmental services.

But Megan’s dad says she is more than just a number. “Megan is my definition of unconditional love she’s a real person not a statistic."

And after four years on the waiting list Megan hasn’t gotten any closer to the day when the state will provide her with the help she needs. In fact she’s been losing ground.

Advocates for the disabled say the state has plenty of cash this year and there’s no excuse for the long waiting lists.