Governor John R. Kasich has made home- and community-based services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a priority of his administration, consistent with his overall focus on improving job opportunities and quality of life for all Ohioans.
When Governor Kasich took office in 2011, Ohio was spending more on nursing homes and institutions than nearly any other state. Recognizing that home- and community-based services provide the least restrictive and most integrated settings for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Governor Kasich worked with John Martin, director of the Department of Developmental Disabilities, and his staff to return thousands of Ohioans to their communities.
Under the Kasich administration, Ohio added a historic level of support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Governor Kasich and Director Martin advanced the closure of two state-operated developmental centers and downsized large private care facilities. The administration also added almost $300 million in state and federal dollars to create 3,000 new home- and community-based waivers and fund a six percent wage increase for direct support professionals (DSPs).
Speaking to a crowd of direct care staff in September, Director Martin, who began his career as a DSP, said: “Through your kindness, gentleness, your patience, and your love…you all are really creating positive environments and positive places for people to live, to work, to grow, and to fully experience life, and be able to develop their skills.”
The Employment First initiative signed by Governor Kasich and implemented by Director Martin has made job placement and employment opportunities more accessible to working-age Ohioans of all abilities. The waiting list for disability employment supports has been eliminated, with more than 17,000 individuals gaining access to the assistance they need to prepare for and find meaningful employment.
“Governor Kasich, Director Martin and the staff at the Department of Developmental Disabilities have proven their commitment to supporting those with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Bruce Nardella, president and CEO of The MENTOR Network. “We are proud to partner with the Governor and his administration to meet the needs of Ohioans who are transitioning to home- and community-based settings and look forward to continuing that important work.”
Pictured (l): John Martin, Director of the Department of Developmental Disabilities